The Sale of certain assets of the famous Nürburging race track
It is a false belief widely entertained in the world of EU State aid law that in a case where the State sells a property it owns by way of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender procedure the one placing the highest bid will be deemed free from any accusations of having benefitted from an illegal aid. This rule that has already been questioned in the 90ies of the past century has recently suffered some further setback by two rulings of the European Court Of Justice.
In a case centering on the sale of certain assets of the famous Nürburging race track the CJEU annulled certain parts of the first instance judgments (CJEU, judgment of 2.9.2021, Case C-665/19 P, NeXovation v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2021:667 as well as CJEU, judgment of 2.9.2021, Case C-647/19 P, Ja zum Nürburgring v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2021:666). An essential aspect in these rulings was that the sold assets had benefitted from various aid measures that had been completely ignored during the tender procedure. As a consequence, the highest bid could not reflect the value of these aid measures.
An article focussing on the details of this is forthcoming (Bartosch, Die Entzauberung der Mär von der Beihilfekonformität des Höchstgebotes).