Action brought on 15 February 2021 – Portugal v Commission

(Case T-95/21)

Language of the case: Portuguese

Parties

Applicant: Portuguese Republic (represented by: L. Inez Fernandes, P. Barros da Costa, M. J. Marques, L. Borrego and A. M. Soares de Freitas, acting as Agents, and by M. Gorjão-Henriques and A. Saavedra, lawyers)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the General Court should

order that the documents in the administrative procedure that gave rise to the adoption of the contested decision be added to the case file, in the terms sought by the present application;

annul Article 1 and Articles 4 to 6 of European Commission Decision of 4 December 2020, C(2020)8550 final, ‘on aid scheme SA.21259 (2018/C) (ex2018/NN) implemented by Portugal in favour of the Madeira Free Zone (MFZ) – Regime III’;

order the European Commission to pay all the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

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

First plea, alleging an error in law, on the ground that the measure at issue was of general, and not selective, application and therefore did not constitute State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU.

Second plea, alleging that, in any event, the Commission failed to demonstrate that the criterion of distortion of competition and of effects on trade between Member States had been met.

Third plea, alleging an error in law concerning the application of Article 108 TFEU and Articles 21 to 23 of Regulation (EU) 2015/1589, on the ground that the aid in question was existing aid.

Fourth plea, alleging an error of law in the decision, on the ground that Madeira Free Zone (MFZ) Regime III was implemented in accordance with the Commission’s decisions of 2007 and 2013, and with Articles 107 and 108 TFEU.

Fifth plea, alleging an error as to the assumptions of fact in the decision and/or a failure to state reasons, on the ground that the requirements of the tax scheme and the supervision thereof by the national authorities were suitable for the purposes of monitoring MFZ Regime III.

Sixth plea, alleging an error as to the assumptions of fact in the decision and/or a failure to state reasons, on the ground that the Portuguese Republic carried out checks as to the requirement that jobs be created/maintained.

Seventh plea, alleging infringement of general principles of EU law. The applicant relies, in particular, on infringement of the rights of the defence and of the principles of legal certainty and sound administration, and a failure to state reasons.

____________