On 12 March 2020, Dr Luca Rubini was invited by the House of Lords’ EU Internal Market Sub-Committee to give evidence on the ‘level playing field’ mechanisms currently at the core of the EU-UK negotiations.
In particular, his evidence focused on the difference between systems of subsidy and State aid control, on the subsidy disciplines ‘typically included’ in preferential trade agreements (‘PTAs’) and especially those concluded by the EU. He finally had the opportunity to answer questions about the role the EU and UK can have in using state aid to fight climate change. Dr Rubini highlighted that the UK would be better off if they changed strategy and negotiating stance during the negotiations. The UK has always been ‘first in the class’ with respect to State aid. Others countries in the EU are traditionally big subsidisers. It is in the UK’s interest therefore that they should cease acting on the defensive and suggesting very minimal subsidy disciplines. They should, by contrast, accept a robust system of State aid control and demand a continuing participation in the EU system (with respect to both its day-to-day management and law reform).
On 3 April 2020, the House of Lords’ EU Internal Market Sub- Committee wrote a letter to Mr Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which takes account of the evidence given by the various experts and follows many points and suggestions made by Dr Rubini.