Max Åhman, together with colleagues Julian Nowag and Luis Mundaca, have a new article out, titled 'Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in the EU? Exploring the role of state aid rules'. It was published in Climate Policy journal and is available under open access.
The paper aims to identify and analyse potential legal avenues for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) in the European Union (EU) using State aid rules. Our analysis reveals that the EU State aid rules would allow the European Commission to effectively target and monitor a vast number of FFS. From a policy perspective, the requirements for notification, examination, transparency, reporting, and recovery of unlawfully granted aid are of particular importance. The legal framework also provides avenues for the EU Commission to start a ‘Fossil Fuel Inquiry’, while providing important tools for civil society to apply pressure on states for the removal of FFS. Based on our legal analysis and pertinent literature, we discuss which of these different FFS and corresponding estimates are likely (or not) to fall under the EU State aid rules. Despite inherent uncertainties, the EU State aid toolbox offers various possibilities to the EU to actively advance its climate change policy and comply with its international commitments to reduce FFS.