Beyond its impact on the implementation of the EU internal market, the granting of state aid, in whatever form, constitutes a form of intervention in the economy that can alter the functioning of the markets. In fact, sometimes this sort of actions may involve damage to competition, and far from favoring public interest, may harm it.
The new Competition Act 15/2007 of July 3rd has helped to deepen and strengthen the functions that the Spanish Competition Authority holds on state aid, within the set of functions aimed at promoting competition.
Indeed, allows the National Competition Commission (NCC) to issue reports concerning aid schemes and individual aid, and also make recommendations to public authorities leading to the maintenance of effective competition in the markets. Similarly, the NCC issues a yearly report, which is made public, on state aid granted in Spain.
It is also novel the provision established on this subject by the new Regulation for the Protection of Competition (approved by Royal Decree 261/2008, of February 22nd), whose articles 7 and 8 specify that the analysis of the state aid will focus on both legal and economic matters, and things such as the strategic plan that supports the foundations of the aid, its legal basis or the positive and negative elements of the grant (within the so-called balancing test) are subject to assessment.
Finally, we must also highlight the launching of a telematic information center which will include all the data concerning every national state aid granted, once they are published in an official gazette. Its aim is to complement the state aid register that the European Commission manages on this issue.