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Rules applicable to state aid

Competition

Within the context of free competition in the internal market, and specifically the opening up of public services to competition, Member States sometimes intervene through the use of public resources to promote certain economic activities or to protect national industries. By favouring certain firms over their competitors, this State aid is liable to distort competition.
State aid is prohibited under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Nevertheless, some exceptions authorise aid justified by common interest objectives, i.e. for services of general economic interest, as long as they do not distort competition in such a way as to be against the public interest. The monitoring of State aid carried out by the European Commission therefore consists of striking a balance between the positive and negative effects of aid.

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