This article fills the gap in the State aid literature by discussing the optimal rule for State aid assessment, which shall increase the reliability and accuracy of State aid enforcement by the European Commission. Moreover, it contributes to decision theory more broadly, by putting emphasis on the error in application of law, which hampers an effective distinction between desirable and undesirable measures.
The argument developed in this article is that the informational asymmetries, which the Commission faces when assessing measures, may be overcome to a different extent at each procedural stage. Hence, and due to the interrelation between complexity of rules and the probability of error in their application, State aid assessment requires two assessment rules, one for the preliminary examination and one for the formal investigation. However, it seems that such optimal assessment rules have not been identified, and no concern about accuracy in application of complex rules is reflected in the literature or in the legal framework. Consequently, the Commission shall structure and make known the rules which guide its assessment, especially in the preliminary examination. This would benefit the quality and transparency of the decision-making and might be particularly valuable in the context of the on-going revision of State aid guidelines.World Competition