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‘Naked Economic Nationalism’ · Case T-111/21 Croatia Airlines - COVID-19 · Annotation by Marijana Liszt

Annotation of the Judgment of the General Court of 9 November 2022 in Case T-111/21 Croatia Airlines - COVID-19

Marijana Liszt


Keywords: COVID-19, State aid, Croatia, air transport, Ryanair

This case note concerns one of many European Commission decisions approving State aid as damage compensation to airlines due to extraordinary occurrences (COVID-19 outbreak), on the basis of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, considered to be an ‘automatic exemption’, meaning that the discretionary powers of the Commission are confined to verifying the fulfilment of the required conditions. This Commission decision has been challenged by the tireless Ryanair DAC, which has been challenging many State aid measures granted to airlines by the Member states simultaneously, on the basis of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU as well as other applicable grounds (Article 107(3)(b); the COVID-19 Temporary Framework). This judgment has been chosen as it refers to Croatia Airlines, the Croatian national air carrier, presenting the first ever General Court decision referring to State aid granted to a Croatian undertaking by the Republic of Croatia. The case raises several peculiar legal questions concerning the notions of discrimination and the difference in treatment. It is also worth mentioning the Court’s argument regarding Croatia Airlines’ essential role in Croatia’s air transport connectivity. Marijana Liszt LLM (Carlos III de Madrid), Lawyer/Senior Partner at Liszt & Partners, Zagreb, Croatia.


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