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On 24 September 2019, the General Court of the European Union (GC) rendered its judgment (T-760/15 and T-636/16) regarding the action brought by Starbucks Corp. and Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV (SMBV) and the Netherlands for the annulment of the final State aid decision of the European Commission (EC) of 21 October 2015 on Starbucks (SA.38374). The GC annulled the EC’s decision because the EC did not demonstrate the existence of an economic advantage within the meaning of EU State aid rules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented that the judgment gives important guidance on the application of EU State aid rules in the area of taxation and confirms that, while Member States have exclusive competence in determining their laws concerning direct taxation, they must do so in respect of EU law, including State
aid rules.