The modern science of economic law not infrequently offers divergent and even completely opposing statements of scholars about the quintessence of the state aid to business entities and the correlation of the state aid and the state support. The legislative definition of the state aid does not fully reveal the essence of the state aid built up by many years of the European court practice. At the same time, the legal definition of the concept “the state aid to business entities” has not taken up the established approach to the understanding of its main substantive components which has also been developed within the science of economic law. Specifically, this is manifested through the position evidencing an incorrect delimitation between the concepts of the state aid and the state support of business entities. The purpose of the article is to analyze the essence of the concept of the state aid, its legislative definition and normalization formed by the European court practice, and also the determining components of the state aid, and to prepare, on this basis, the proposals to current legislation. The article focuses on the distinctive features which the state aid should be consistent with. Besides, the author gives the analysis of particular provisions of the EU legislation and the landmark cases in order to identify the qualifying elements of the state aid. As the study results show, a state support action may be regarded as the state aid to business entities if it meets the following criteria: 1) there is the fact of transfer of the state resources; 2) the business entity concerned acquires an economic advantage; 3) the action has a selective nature with regard to specific business entities; 4) the action causes a disruption of competition and, most importantly – it has an impact on trade (article 107 (1) of the Treaty on the EU Functioning). It is noted that almost all of these components are taken into account in the legally defined concept of “the state aid to business entities”, except for an impact on trade. The author makes a well-reasoned remark that the Ukrainian system of law in the domain of the state aid regards the state aid as any support which disrupts or threatens to disrupt the internal economic competition within the country and which, at the same time, may not affect international trade, and this actually resulted in the extension of the definition of the state aid. In this regard, it is proposed to make more specific the definition of “the state aid to business entities” given in the Law of Ukraine “On the State Aid to Business Entities” by restating it and incorporating into it the component of an impact on international trade.
List of legal documents
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