Published 23 August 2017
The following paper has been added to the OGEL 2 (2017) Brexit Special Issue
The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union following the referendum result of June 23, 2016 has given rise to a lively debate as to the future application of the EU State aid regime in that country. The publication of the so-called 'Article 50 letter' on March 29, 2017 followed by the UK government's white paper, as well as the Commission's own negotiating guidelines, published in April 2017, has not provided full clarity on the issue. The current EU state aid regime, as enshrined in Articles 107 - 109 TFEU applies to all sources of energy, including nuclear energy. Although there has been some debate as to whether state support for nuclear energy is subject to a specific regime within the framework of the Euratom Treaty, given that the UK has also declared its intention to leave the European Atomic Energy Community, then this Treaty too will be no longer be applicable to the nuclear sector. Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty incorporates the mechanism set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act which received Royal Assent on 16 March 2017, provides the Prime Minister the power to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. The explanatory notes to the original bill introduced in the House of Commons on 26 January 2017 clarified that such power "includes the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), as the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 sets out that the term "EU" includes (as the context permits or requires) Euratom" This contribution will therefore assume that the EU state regime (including in so far as relevant, the Euratom Treaty) will no longer apply to any form of state financial support to the energy sector in the UK once Brexit is completed.
Footnotes omitted from this introduction.