General Court state aid ruling on Spanish scheme for the early depreciation of assets acquired through financial leasing

General Court state aid ruling on Spanish scheme for the early depreciation of assets acquired through financial leasing

Arnold van Steenderen
06 February 2015

On 9 December 2014, the General Court handed down its judgment dismissing the appeal brought by the Netherlands Maritime Technology Association (NMTA) against a Commission decision finding an amended Spanish tax leasing scheme to be compatible with the EU state aid rules. The General Court has concluded that NMTA failed to demonstrate that serious difficulties were encountered by the Commission in its preliminary examination of the notified measure such as to require the Commission to initiate the full investigation procedure under Article 108(2) of the TFEU. The General Court did not accept that the circumstances of the case or the duration of the preliminary examination evidenced serious difficulties. The General Court concluded that the Commission had assessed the notified measure in its context, given sufficient attention to whether it conferred a de facto selective advantage, and had been entitled to find that the conditions imposed by the notified measure were an inherent part of the Spanish tax system, and were justified by the logic of it. As a result, the General Court has refused to annul the Commission’s original decision (T-140/13 Netherlands Maritime Technology Association v Commission, judgment of 9 December 2014 (ECLI:EU:T:2014:1029)).