Since 2002 Lexxion Publisher’s European State Aid Law Quarterly – EStAL serves as a forum for dialogue and deliberation on all issues related to State aid. On the occasion of our 15th anniversary special feature we have gathered our State aid family to reflect upon their joint journey together with our precious EStAL and of course our favourite topic State aid. Throughout our jubilee year we will introduce you to our State aid aficionados providing original and behind-the-scenes insights into our community of experts including our distinct editorial board members, country correspondents, regular contributors and more.


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Today we welcome Alexander Rose, one of our regular speakers at State aid events and EStAL author, from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to the StateAidHub. He already joined us for our State aid video project on YouTube last year - watch his video here. What's his deal with State aid and why is it so important?

When and how did you get involved with State aid Law?

I became involved in State aid law because I wanted to make a difference.

In 2008, I joined a public funded regeneration organisation and saw projects not going ahead  because decision-makers were either too cautious or didn’t really understand the requirements of State aid law. Developing my expertise in State aid law was a way of allowing these projects to go ahead.

I built a reputation for finding solutions to difficult problems. Successfully advising on a high profile inward investment project led to me becoming Chairman of the UK State Aid Technical Group. I then joined central government and was seconded to DG Competition in 2014 to work on State Aid matters. It has been a fascinating experience.       

Why is State aid law important? 

State Aid is the fastest growing area of competition law and is unique in terms of the pace of change.

In my opinion, it’s important because it protects the taxpayer from unlimited State subsidies, particularly situations where large businesses play off countries against one another to maximise grants. I believe it helps good businesses to thrive by preventing States propping up uncompetitive businesses through endless unfocussed subsidies, whilst the many exemptions allow Member States' scope to intervene to incentivise businesses to grow or improve.

What is the role of EStAL? Is it a policy monitor or policy shaper?

For fifteen years EStAL has been at the heart of State Aid law. It’s an accurate and up to date source of information in a rapidly changing area of law. It brings people together from across State aid law to provide ideas, make suggestions and shape the development of State aid. The continuing importance of EStAL, EStALI and can hardly be overstated.

Evolution of State Aid Law & EStAL: Review and Outlook

The major milestone in my State Aid career was working on the drafting of the GBER 651/2014 whilst on secondment at DG Competition. This suite of exemptions is now used for over 90% of awards of State aid and has therefore assisted Member States to be able to make awards more quickly and with greater certainty. That has a meaningful impact on economic development across the EU and EEA. It is a live document and I hope that the Commission continues to amend and improve the GBER during its term to take account of new notifications.


Thank you Alex for these insights into your story with State aid and EStAL - your words nearly made us blush! We are looking forward to the next major developments in State aid with your expert insights on our side!

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Read also our interviews with Thomas Jaeger, Sara GobbatoIlkka Aalto-Setälä, Birgit Haslinger and Mihalis Kekelekis.





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