Language of document :

Action brought on 26 June 2020 – Ryanair v Commission

(Case T-388/20)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Applicant: Ryanair DAC (Swords, Ireland) (represented by: E. Vahida, F. Laprévote, S. Rating and I. Metaxas-Maranghidis, lawyers)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

annul the European Commission’s decision (EU) of 18 May 2020 on State Aid SA.56809 (2020/N) – Finland – COVID –19: State loan guarantee for Finnair1 ; and,

order the European Commission to pay the costs.

The applicant has also requested that its action be determined under the expedited procedure as referred to in Article 23a of the Statute of the Court of Justice.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicant relies on four pleas in law.

First plea in law, alleging that the European Commission misapplied Article 107(3)(b) TFEU by considering that the aid addresses a serious disturbance in the Finnish economy and by violating the obligation to weigh the beneficial effects of aid against its adverse effects on trading conditions and the maintenance of undistorted competition (i.e., the “balancing test”).

Second plea in law, alleging that the European Commission violated specific provisions of the TFEU and the general principles of European law regarding the prohibition of discrimination, free provision of services and free establishment that have underpinned the liberalisation of air transport in the EU since the late 1980s. The liberalisation of the air transport market in the EU has allowed the growth of truly pan-European low-fares airlines. The European Commission ignored the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis to such pan-European airlines and their role in the air connectivity of Finland by authorising Finland to reserve aid to Finnair only. Article 107(3)(b) TFEU provides for an exception to the prohibition of State aid under Article 107(1) TFEU, but it does not provide for an exception to the other rules and principles of the TFEU.

Third plea in law, alleging that the European Commission failed to initiate a formal investigation procedure despite serious difficulties and violated the applicant’s procedural rights.

Fourth plea in law, alleging that the decision violated the Commission’s duty to state reasons.

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1 European Commission Decision (EU) of 18 May 2020 on State Aid SA.56809 (2020/N) – Finland -- COVID-19: State loan guarantee for Finnair (not yet published in the Official Journal)