State Aid in the new EU Member States
In the early phase of transition, which began in the 1990s, Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) pursued economic restructuring that involved massive injections of state support. With reference to the history of state aid in centrally planned economies, we investigate state aid practices of CEECs since attaining full EU membership. We analyse whether their state aid policies during and after transition challenged European state aid legislation, and whether these fit into the EU strategy of ‘less but better targeted aid’. The data-based analysis is complemented with some indicative insights from state aid in the steel industry as well as the financial service sector to suggest that there is today no significant difference in state aid law application between East and West any more – the new EU members have further caught up by better aligning to the objectives of the State Aid Action Plan.