Germany and Pleuger Worthington v Commission: ECJ 13 Apr 1994

(Judgment) 1. Although the Commission, in carrying out its task of supervising State aid, may not in principle be barred from relying on a set of circumstances which taken as a whole indicate the de facto existence of an aid programme, the mere fact that a set of aids may be part of a policy to prevent the exodus of undertakings and the fact that those aids were granted under the same budget heading and by the same administrative body are not sufficient, in the absence of further explanations on legislative, administrative, financial or economic matters, to demonstrate that all those aids constitute elements of a single programme to which the provisions of Article 93 of the Treaty apply. Such a policy may be conducted on the basis of measures of a very different nature and even by means of very varied aid programmes.
2. Once the Commission has established that aids have been granted or altered without notification, it has the power, after giving the Member State in question an opportunity to submit its comments on the matter, to issue an interim decision requiring it to suspend immediately the payment of such aids pending the outcome of the examination of the aids and to provide the Commission, within such period as it may specify, with all such documentation, information and data as are necessary in order that it may examine the compatibility of the aid with the common market. It is only if the Member State, notwithstanding the Commission’ s order, fails to provide the information requested, that the Commission is empowered to terminate the procedure and make its decision, on the basis of the information available to it, on the question whether or not the aids are compatible with the common market.
If the Commission, when the procedure relating to the unnotified aids was commenced, requested information about the aids and about the aid programme or programmes, without, however, requiring the Member State concerned, by interim decision, to provide it with all information relating to all the aids granted, it is not entitled to rely on the failure to notify the individual aids in question to arrive at the conclusion that an aid programme exists, which is denied by the Member State concerned. Nor can it rely, in justification of its decision, on the fragmentary nature of the information sent to it, since it did not use all its powers to cause the Member State to provide it with all the necessary information.


C-324/90, [1994] EUECJ C-324/90






Updated: 01 June 2022; Ref: scu.160585