We focus on state aid to the car sector in the EU. Stemming from the general normative principles on state aid (i.e., art. 107 of the Treaty), we investigate how these have been applied, given the specific soft law provisions which are typical of the sector. A detailed quantitative analysis from 1990 to 2008 is carried out, highlighting a reduction of aids over time. A shift to “regional development” motives in granting aid to the sector is observed in the last ten years. Overall, a lack of coordination in national policies documented by large differences in expenditure across countries in the past, and possible future subsidy races, call for a more focussed European policy for aids to this industry.
- state aid to business,
- automobile sector,
- European Union industrial policy