Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2013 position: 25

European Commission to investigate possible state aid for Hinkley point nuclear project

The European Commission has announced that it intends to open a detailed investigation into possible state aid for the Hinkley point nuclear new-build project.

It stated in its announcement that it doubts the project suffers from a genuine market failure. It is also quite negative regarding the project’s prospects of being found to constitute ‘services of general economic interest’ (SGEI).

So what is the legal headline here? The main point to keep in mind is that a key feature of the European Commission’s investigation will be to decide whether the project represents an SGEI. The expression ‘SGEI’ is not defined by community law but essentially comprises an economic activity that public authorities define as being of particular importance to citizens, and which either would not be supplied or would be supplied under different conditions if there were no public intervention…

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