statutory six months deadline and no serious restructuring plan had been submitted32. The Commission approved a number of restructuring aid cases33. In other cases the
Commission found the aid to be incompatible34 because of doubts regarding compatibility35.
or opened a formal investigation
The Commission made significant progress in achieving more effective and immediate execution of recovery Decisions. The number of recovery Decisions awaiting implementation was reduced from 60 at the end of 2006 to 47 at the end of 2007. All of 23 recovery cases were closed, whilst 9 new recovery Decisions were adopted in 2007. Of the EUR 8.9 billion of illegal and incompatible aid to be recovered under Decisions adopted since 2000, some EUR 8.2 billion (i.e. 91.2% of the total amount) had been effectively recovered by the end of 2007. In addition, a further EUR 2.4 billion in recovery interests had been recovered. The case law and policy in this area were also summarised in a Notice36.
The role of competition policy in the wider policy framework
On 11 December the Commission reviewed the Lisbon strategy37 and made proposals with a view to the next three-year cycle (2008–2010)38. The review proposes to further embed competition in the wider Lisbon strategy framework. A particular focus is placed on the need to enhance sectoral market monitoring, and improve regulation where necessary, notably focussed on key services and network industries39. These proposals are in line with the Single Market Review carried out by the Commission during 2007. The importance of reforms in the area of competition is reflected by the large number — both in relative and absolute terms
See Ottana (Case C 11/2007, Aiuto alla ristrutturazione di Ottana Energia Srl (OJ C 122, 2.6.2007, p. 22)); Ixfin (Case C 59/2007, Aiuto al salvataggio alla Ixfin SpA (Decision of 11.12.2007, not yet published)) and New Interline (Case C 13/2007, Aiuto al salvataggio della New Interline SpA (OJ C 120, 31.5.2007, p. 12)). See e.g. Javor Pivka (Case C 19/2006, Restructuring aid for Javor Pivka, Commission Decision of 10.7.2007 (not yet published)) and Novoles Straza (Case C 20/2006, Restructuring aid to Novoles Straza Commission Decision of 10.7.2007 (not yet published)) (both approved under the 1999 rescue & restructuring guidelines), Techmatrans (Case C 6/2007, Restructuring aid f o r Techmatrans, Commission Decision of 28.11.2007 (not yet published)) and Bison-Bial (Case C 54/2006, Restructuring aid for Bison-Bial, Commission Decision of 12.9.2007 (not yet published)). See e.g. Nuova Mineraria Silius (Case C 16/2006, Restructuring aid to Nuova Mineraria Silius (OJ L 185, 17.7.2007, p. 18)) and Biria (Case C 38/2005, Biria Gruppe (OJ L 183, 13.7.2007, p. 27)). See e.g. Legler (Case C 39/2007, Aiuto di stato per la ristrutturazione del gruppo Legler (OJ C 289,
, p. 22)), FagorBrandt (Case C 44/2007, Restructuring aid to FagorBrandt (OJ C 275,
, p. 18)) or Fluorite di Silus (Case C 60/2007, Aid to Fluorite di Silius S.p.A, Commission
Decision of 11.12.2007 (not yet published)). Towards an effective implementation of Commission Decisions ordering Member States to recovery unlawful and incompatible State aid (OJ C 272, 15.11.2007). The Commission’s Communication on the ’Strategic Objectives 2005–2009’ states that “[t]he top priority today is to restore sustainable dynamic growth in Europe in accordance with the Lisbon strategy”. COM(2005) 12 final, p. 3. Communication from the Commission to the European Council: Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: launching the new cycle (2008–2010) Keeping up the pace of change PART I (COM(2007) 803 final). Proposal for a Community Lisbon Programme 2008–2010 (COM(2007) 804 final). See in particular Objective 5: The Community will strengthen the single market, increase competition in services, and take further steps to integrate the financial services market.