Forum: Interaction of State Aid, Free Movement, Policy Competition and Abuse Control in Direct Tax Matters

The European Union has woken up to State aid possibly contained in national direct tax measures. As a result, the number of Commission actions against Member States on the basis of fiscal State aid has increased in recent years, with some amazing results. It has also revealed overlap and concurrence, sometimes even contradiction between EU State aid law and other EU law affecting direct taxation. The author discusses four types of interaction/overlap between EU State aid law and other areas of (EU) (soft) law affecting direct taxation: – State aid and free movement rights;– State aid and harmful tax competition;– State aid and anti-abuse measures; and– State aid in the form of taxation itself. His conclusions are that (i) State aid is marching on the field of taxation; (ii) the Code of Conduct Group is marching on the field of tax disparities and therefore on tax harmonization; and (iii) the criteria for assessing fiscal restrictions on free movement rights, fiscal State aid and harmful tax competition are converging, resulting in more overlap between the three sets of rules.