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Parliamentary questions
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5 March 2021
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006902/2020

The Commission understands that the Honourable Member is referring to the Commission’s state aid decisions in the field of taxation and aggressive tax planning.

The Commission recalls that the Commission’s decision-making process in individual competition cases features a number of internal checks and balances, including an independent Chief Economist and the Legal Service, together with the collegiality of the Commission’s decision-making. Independence in the Commission’s competition enforcement casework is non-negotiable.

The Commission further recalls that there are no fines in state aid cases. If, after an in-depth investigation, the Commission concludes that illegal and incompatible state aid has been granted, it requires the Member State to recover that aid from the beneficiary. All Commission state aid decisions are subject to scrutiny by EU courts. These are fundamental principles of the Commission’s competition enforcement.

Over the last five years, in the field of fiscal state aid, the Commission defended fifteen of its decisions before the EU courts (i.e. the General Court and the Court of Justice). The EU courts definitively upheld the Commission’s decisions in five of these cases and definitively annulled two Commission decisions. The remaining eight cases are still pending (i.e. no final judgment has been rendered).

In any event, the costs awarded to the winning party are typically much lower than those, which law firms charge the applicants. The cost claims against the Commission for annulled fiscal decisions are in the low hundred thousand Euros. As regards the pending eight cases, the final position on costs will depend on their outcome.

Last updated: 5 March 2021Legal notice - Privacy policy