Advocate General Mengozzi's Opinion (in case C-290/07 P) of 23 February 2010, generally supports the European Commission's findings regarding State aid to Scott SA. In July 2000, the Commission found that the paper manufacturer had received State aid in the form of a preferential price for land acquired from the French authorities and the grant of preferential water rates. France was ordered to recover the aid with interest. Scott SA subsequently appealed this decision to the Court of First Instance (now called the General Court), which ruled that the Commission had made a mistake in its valuation of the land. Subsequently, the Commission took a case before the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”), alleging that the General Court had made several errors in its analysis and calling for the ruling to be overturned. The Advocate General considers that the Commission's calculations on value were not completely accurate but pointed out that the private investor test is a complex economic assessment and the Commission is entitled to some measure of discretion. The errors in calculation were insufficient, in the Advocate General's view, to justify annulment of the decision. He further considers that there was a serious flaw in the reasoning of the General Court's Judgment which the ECJ is entitled to raise of its own motion, even though it is not expressly raised by the Commission. His recommendation to the ECJ is that the case should be referred back to the General Court for re-examination.
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Advocate General gives opinion on the latest Scott SA appeal
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