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Introduction – a View from the outside

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on how the various ways in which the State can intervene in the economy in the pursuit of its own public policy objectives are assessed under primary EC law, i.e. under the EC Treaty. For that purpose, the chapter generally classifies State intervention according to whether its impact on the economy (i.e. the amount of ‘displacement’ it causes) is heavier or lighter and whether it takes a legal or financial/economic form. Taking both heavier and lighter forms of intervention together, the thrust of EC law is then to bring Member States, as much as possible, towards lighter forms of intervention, which are less heavily constrained through EC law because they are more easily compatible with the general economic policy objectives of the EC.

Keywords: EC law; economic policy; European Commission; Member States; State intervention

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