Kulturel statsstøtte i EU

Pernille Leth Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Summary: The subject of this thesis is state aid for the cultural sector in the European Union. The cultural sector covers everything from museums to cultural film production; everything which has a cultural aspect and represents the national history and identity. There seems to be no official guidelines or criteria on how to evaluate state aid applications under art 107(3)(d) TFEU, the cultural derogation. The thesis analyzes case law, mainly the practice of the Commission, which is exempt from this derogation. In order to do so, it is important to make clear how culture is to be interpreted. The thesis analyzes the case law in order to explicate the criteria with which the Commission impose certain significance when deciding to grant state aid to a cultural activity. It examines whether these criteria are repeated in every decision for compatibility with the internal market. The analysis demonstrates that in the evaluation, the Commission does not apply regular and general criteria, but instead it shows a tendency for a category specific method. How to define and interpret culture is not defined by the EU, but by the member states themselves. This is explained by the principle of subsidiarity and the objective of the derogation by which to preserve and promote national culture. To verify whether or not the applied law increases the total welfare on the cultural market, the market is analyzed from a perspective of welfare economy and compared to market structures such as “perfect competition” and “monopoly”. This method is applied in order to decide whether this kind of market needs state aid, which has been positively affirmed, due to several kinds of market errors. In addition, it is found that the market cannot be categorized as a single market, with a general set of characteristics, but instead a diversified market, especially concerning the competition intensity. Furthermore, it is concluded that the law can be explained by the category specific structures, in which high competition intensity is accompanied by fixed criteria’s. Finally, the thesis combines the legal and the economic issues in the integrated law and economic perspective in order to carry out a legal political analysis, which presents an alternative method for the evaluation. The analysis shows that by using criteria, which are not defined in the law or by the Commission, the legal certainty will be compromised. From the alternatives, it is found that it is possible to use a different method and achieve a total welfare with greater balance between legal certainty and maximized welfare.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages126