5 août 2011
ECJ: implied agreement of the European Commission with a fiscal State aid is not a real agreement, Vizcaya et al., C-471/09 P
Three historic territories of the Basque Country (Vizcaya, Alava, Guipuzcoa) granted a tax credit of 45 % for certain investments exceeding € 15 million (direct beneficiaries were Daewoo Electronics Manufacturing España SA and Ramondín SA, §§ 7-8). They tried to argue on appeal against EU General Court judgment that the Commission knew about the tax regime in 1993 but took the contested decision in 2002 only (§ 47). The absence of any action for so many years, according to them, created legitimate confidence in the legality of the tax regime.
The ECJ replied that since the State aid was not notified as such to the Commission, its inaction does not give birth to legitimate confidence (§ 68).