Language of document : ECLI:EU:T:2014:677

Judgment of the General Court (Seventh Chamber) of 16 July 2014 —
Greece v Commission

(Case T‑52/12)

State aid — Compensation payments made by the Greek Agricultural Insurance Organisation (ELGA) in 2008 and 2009 — Decision declaring aid incompatible with the internal market and ordering its recovery — Concept of State aid — Article 107(3)(b) and (c) TFEU — Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural sector

1.                     State aid — Concept — State intervention mitigating the burdens normally included in the budget of an undertaking — Included (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see para. 50)

2.                     State aid — Concept — Payments by the national agricultural insurance organisation to compensate farmers for losses through bad weather — Payments not proportionate to the contributions paid by the farmers — No possibility of the farmers insuring against the same risks with private insurance companies — Included — Measure pursuing a purely social objective — Irrelevant (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see paras 51, 54-64, 66-70)

3.                     Acts of the institutions — Statement of reasons — Obligation — Scope — Commission decision on State aid — Characterising of the adverse effect on competition and of the affecting of trade between Member States (Arts 107(1) TFEU and 296 TFEU) (see paras 76, 110, 111, 157, 158)

4.                     State aid — Concept — Granting of an advantage to beneficiaries — Assessment by comparison with other undertakings in the same Member State and not with undertakings in other Member States (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see para. 80)

5.                     State aid — Concept — Differentiation between undertakings in the matter of charges — Not included — Condition — Differentiation inherent in the system of charges at issue — Burden of proof on the Member State concerned (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see paras 86-88, 94)

6.                     State aid — Effect on trade between Member States — Adverse effect on competition — Aid of little importance in a sector with lively competition — Agricultural sector (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see paras 104, 105)

7.                     State aid — Concept — Aid coming from State resources — Measures financed both by State contributions and by contributions from operators in a sector — Included (Art. 107(1) TFEU) (see paras 117-120)

8.                     Plea of illegality — Scope — Measures the illegality of which may be pleaded — Temporary Community framework for State aid designed to favour access to financing in the context of the economic and financial crisis — Included — Conditions (Arts 107(3)(b) TFEU and 277 TFEU; Commission Notice 2009/C 16/01, point 4.2.2(h)) (see paras 150-155)

9.                     State aid — Prohibition — Exceptions — Aid which may be considered compatible with the common market — Aid to remedy serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State — Strict interpretation (Art. 107(1) and (3)(b) TFEU) (see paras 159-161)

10.                     State aid — Prohibition — Exceptions — Restrictive interpretation — Obligation on the Commission to assess the compatibility of aid by reference to the substantive rules in force at the time it was paid (Art. 107(1) and (3)(b) and (c) TFEU; Commission Notice 2009/C 16/01, point 4.2.2(h)) (see paras 168-173)

11.                     State aid — Prohibition — Exceptions — Discretion of the Commission — Possibility of adopting guidelines — Binding effect — Judicial review (Art. 107(3)(b) and (c) TFEU; Commission Notice 2009/C 16/01) (see paras 186, 187, 214, 216)

12.                     State aid — Commission decision finding aid incompatible with the common market and ordering its recovery — Possible for the Commission to leave to national authorities the task of calculating the exact amount to be recovered — Duty of cooperation between the Commission and the Member State — Scope (Art. 4(3) TEU; Art. 108(2) TFEU) (see paras 196-198)


ANNULMENT of Commission Decision 2012/157/EU of 7 December 2011 concerning compensation payments made by the Greek Agricultural Insurance Organisation (ELGA) in 2008 and 2009 (OJ 2012 L 78, p. 21).

Operative part

The Court:


Dismisses the action;


Orders the Hellenic Republic to pay the costs, including those relating to the action for interim measures.