Insights from the Slovak Hybrid Mail Services Case. Case Comment to the Judgement of the General Court of 25 March 2015 and Order of Court of Justice of the EU of 30 June 2016 Slovenská pošta v Commission (Cases T-556/08, C-293/15P)
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The Slovak hybrid mail services case (or Slovenska posta case) is truly unique in EU jurisprudence. Within the last decade, the European Commission rarely applied Article 106(1) in conjunction with Article 102 TFEU to challenge competition distortions in individual cases. Thus Slovenska posta constitutes one of the rare examples of such enforcement. Slovenska posta also constitutes a very rare example of a judicial review of Commission decisions based on Article 106(1) and 102 TFEU. Slovenska posta is only the second case when European courts were called upon to review the application of Article 106(1) and 102 TFEU by the Commission and the first when the judicial review was conducted over a Commission decision regarding “failure to meet the demand”. Indeed, since 1989-1990 (when the Commission commenced to apply Article 106(1) and 102 TFEU to challenge competition distortions introduced by the Member States) and until 2014, when the Court of Justice adopted its decision in Greek lignite (DEI) case , none of the Commission decisions was reviewed by EU courts. Such lack of appeals resulted in a rather strange situation under which the Commission and CJEU developed their own jurisprudence on the application of Article 106(1) and 102 TFEU and occasionally interpreted the same legal criteria differently. In this regard, a court review in Slovenska posta was eagerly awaited in the hope it would reconcile these diverging positions and provide more clarity on the application of Article 106(1) and 102 TFEU.
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