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From negative to positive integration? European state aid control through soft and hard law


  • Blauberger, Michael


European state aid control, a part of competition policy, typically follows the logic of negative integration. It significantly constrains the potential for Member States to distort competition by reducing their ability to subsidize industry. In addition, this paper argues, ambiguous Treaty rules and heterogeneous Member States' preferences have enabled the European Commission to act as a supranational entrepreneur, not only enforcing the prohibition of distortive state aid, but also developing its own vision of good state aid policy. In order to prevent or to settle political conflict about individual decisions, the Commission has sought to establish more general criteria for the state aid which it still deems admissible. These criteria have been codified into a complex system of soft law and, more recently, hard state aid law. The Commission has thus created positive integration from above and increasingly influences the objectives of national state aid policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Blauberger, Michael, 2008. "From negative to positive integration? European state aid control through soft and hard law," MPIfG Discussion Paper 08/4, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:p0081

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mattli, Walter & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 1998. "Revisiting the European Court of Justice," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 177-209, December.
    2. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1992. "International cooperation and institutional choice: the European Community's internal market," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 533-560, March.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:02:p:356-376_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Eichhorst, Werner, 2000. "Europäische Sozialpolitik zwischen nationaler Autonomie und Marktfreiheit: Die Entsendung von Arbeitnehmern in der EU," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 40, number 40.
    5. Scharpf, Fritz W., 1999. "Regieren in Europa: Effektiv und demokratisch?," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 0, number sbd-1999.
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    Cited by:

    1. Neil Foster-McGregor & Mario Holzner & Michael Landesmann & Johannes Pöschl & Robert Stehrer & Roman Stöllinger, 2013. "A ‘Manufacturing Imperative’ in the EU – Europe's Position in Global Manufacturing and the Role of Industrial Policy," wiiw Research Reports 391, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.

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