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The strange survival of the EU state aid rules

State aid rules stop governments giving unfair handouts. Britain has pledged to keep them after Brexit, but how to build a regime that works?

By George Peretz  

Theresa May and Donald Tusk in Brussels. Photo: POOL CHRISTOPHE LICOPPE/Belga/PA Images

State aid rules are a major feature of the EU internal market. They confer large powers on the Commission to prevent member states from giving unfair handouts to firms. They can affect very many aspects of national policy, from tax policy to industrial strategy. One might have thought that, post-Brexit, they would vanish from the UK. After all, Britain is seeking a looser relationship with Europe.

But, on the contrary, a quiet consensus has emerged that they…

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