Relevance of the Court Decision on the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant in Relation to Paks II

Dóra Lovas


The aim of the article is to present the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. This investment can also be related to the Paks II nuclear power plant investment, therefore the two investments are compared too. Both projects were examined by the European Commission, which take an important part when the national aid was awarded to Hinkley Point C and Paks II projects, and the decision of the CJEU also had influence on it. The author considers the European Commission’s aid conception positive, because the less developed countries are not forced to use only the renewables, but the environmental and security aspects of nuclear energy are also allowed (e.g. Hinkley Point C and Paks II nuclear power plants). The subsidy was allowed in both cases, but the reasons are different. In these cases, the limits of the EU energy politics can be seen, i.e. the right to select the package and the priority of the energy security and sustainable development. To mention an example for the difference, in Great Britain the energy sector was divided among the participants on the market but in Hungary the nuclear energy remained under state control. In the first option the state wanted to prove that it grants offset for the help to the general market services and in the second option the market investor principle was highlighted in order to show no other market participant act in other way. These points were not accepted, the state aid was provided both cases with permissible reasons because the projects condescend the goals of environmental policy and energy security. The decisions show that as a result of the efforts to protect the environment the dependency on energy increased and it cannot be solved only be encouraging the usage of the renewables. The permissive attitude of the European Commission can be found here and it is influenced by the increased state regulative roles. According to the author, it also appears in the environmentally friendly decisions which refers to the Paris Agreement’s fulfilment and the involvement of environmental requirements into politics. Moreover, the European Union tries to maintain its leader role in economics, which can be reached by the decrease of energy dependency and the exclusive usage of renewable energies is not the appropriate solution. The CJEU judgement is relevant in several respects. The article focuses primarily on the issue of environmental protection, state aid and the relation between the Euratom Treaty and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


CJEU; European Commission; ruling; nuclear power plant; control; the EU energy politics; sustainable development; state

Full Text:




Fercic A., Samec N., European Union State Aid Law and Policy, and Local Public Services, “Lex Localis” 2014, vol. 12(2), DOI:

Bolf-Galamb Zs., Az európai uniós versenyjogi értelemben vett állami támogatási és közbeszerzési szabályok kapcsolata, “Közbeszerzési Szemle” 2012, no. 6.

Craig P., Búrca G. de, EU Law, Text, cases and Materials, Oxford 2015.

Hancher L., Klasse M., Aid to Nuclear and Coal, [in:] State Aid and the Energy Sector, eds. L. Hancher, A. de Hauteclocque, F.M. Salerno, Oxford 2018.

Hancher L., Salerno M.F., Analysis of Current Trends and a First Assessment of the new package, [in:] Research Handbook on EU Energy Law and Policy, eds. R. Leal-Arcas, J. Wouters, Cheltenham 2017.

Hargita E., Az állami támogatások és a verseny, Budapest 2003.

Suna D., Resch G., Is nuclear economical in comparison to renewables?, “Energy Policy” 2016, vol. 98, DOI:


State aid: Commission concludes modified UK measures for Hinkley Point nuclear power plant are compatible with EU rules, 08.10.2014, [access: 12.08.2020].

State Aid Scoreboard 2018: Results, trends and observations regarding EU28 State Aid expenditure reports for 2017, 07.01.2019, [access: 12.08.2020].


Commission Decision (EU) 2015/658 of 8 October 2014 on the aid measure SA.34947 (2013/C) (ex 2013/N) which the United Kingdom is planning to implement for support to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (notified under document C(2014) 7142) (OJ EU L 109, 28.04.2015, pp. 44–116).

Commission Decision of 20 December 2011 on the application of Article 106(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to State aid in the form of public service compensation granted to certain undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest (OJ EU L 7, 11.01.2012, pp. 3–10).

Communication from the Commission on the application of the European Union State aid rules to compensation granted for the provision of services of general economic interest (OJ EU C 8, 11.01.2012, pp. 4–14).

Communication from the Commission – European Union framework for State aid in the form of public service compensation (2011) (OJ EU C 8, 11.01.2012, pp. 15–22).

Commission Regulation (EU) no. 360/2012 of 25 April 2012 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid granted to undertakings providing services of general economic interest (OJ EU L 114, 26.04.2012, pp. 8–13).

Communication from the Commission – EU Guidelines for the application of State aid rules in relation to the rapid deployment of broadband networks (OJ C 25, 26.01.2013, pp. 1–26).

Communication from the Commission – Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (OJ C 198, 27.06.2014, pp. 1–29).

Communication from the Commission – Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy 2014–2020 (OJ C 200, 28.06.2014, pp. 1–55).

Guidelines on regional State aid for 2014–2020 (text with EEA relevance) (OJ C 209, 23.07.2013, pp. 1–45).

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, consolidated version (OJ C 202/47, 07.06.2016).


C-31/17, Cristal Union v. Ministre de l’Économie et des Finances, ECLI:EU:C: 2018:168.

C-148/04, Unicredito Italiano SpA v. Agenzia delle Entrate, Ufficio Genova 1, ECLI:EU:C: 2005:774.

C-204/12–C-208/12, Essent Belgium NV v. Vlaamse Reguleringsinstantievoor de Elektriciteits- en Gasmarkt, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2192.

C-262/12, Vent De Colère and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2013:851.

C-265/08, Federutility és társai v. Autorità per l’energia elettrica e il gas, ECLI:EU:C:2010:205.

C-465/15, Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann, ECLI:EU:C:2017:640.

C-594/18, P. Austria v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2020:742.

C-594/18, P. Republic of Austria v. European Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2020:352.

T-356/15, Republic of Austria v. European Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2018:439.

Data publikacji: 2021-06-30 23:19:02
Data złożenia artykułu: 2021-02-26 09:23:01


Total abstract view - 1056
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Dóra Lovas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.