The decision at hand deals with the case of granting State aid by means of guaranteeing in favour of certain publicly-owned undertakings. Almost in its entirety contains arguments and respective findings of the Court regarding questions of burden and level of proof. In that respect, the judgment is not such a fascinating piece of case-law but still reaches some firm conclusions in relation to the requisite legal standard for establishing the existence of an unlimited guarantee and classifying the latter as a State aid measure capable to confer an advantage. The only substantive issue of State aid law that is touched upon lies in the last ground of appeal and pertains to the definition of an advantage provided through a State aid measure. Yet, this substantive concern is not examined independently but it is interposed only for the purpose of ruling on the question how the advantage flowing from an unlimited guarantee can be properly proved.
The most important points made by the Court and drawn out of the general context of that decision can be summarized below:
a) The Court reaffirmed the principle that only positive findings as to the existence of an implied and unlimited State guarantee are acceptable on the basis of a number of concordant facts which provide an adequate basis to establish that the beneficiary enjoy such a guarantee. Negative presumptions are not sufficient to substantiate the existence of such a state measure. In that context, the Court came to rule that the nature of the evidence the Commission must adduce depends, to a large extent, on the nature of the State measure at issue’, and that proof of the existence of an implied State guarantee ‘may be inferred from a bundle of converging facts having a certain degree of reliability and coherence, taken inter alia from an interpretation of the relevant provisions of national law and, in particular, be inferred from the legal effects flowing from the legal status of the recipient undertaking. Moreover, the fact that a guarantee as the one at issue does not emerge explicitly from any legislative or contractual stipulation allows the Commission to discharge a lower evidentiary requirement by relying on a firm, precise and consistent body of evidence to determine whether there exists a real obligation on the State to use its own resources to set off losses of the beneficiary undertaking and therefore a sufficienty concrete economic risk of burdens on the State budget. Therefore, the Court acknowledged a certain degree of evidentiary flexibility as to the establishment of an implied and unlimited State guarantee, as the case was in the present judgment.
b) The Court also maintained that the establishment of an advantage conferred to the recipient of such a guarantee is governed by analogous lax evidence requirements. In particular, it stated that the actual effect of an advantage conferred by a State guarantee may be presumed and that such a guarantee enables the borrower to enjoy a lower interest rate or provide a lower level of security. In relation to the latter, the Court invoked the guidelines provided in the Commission Notice on the application of Articles 87 [EC] and 88 [EC] to State aid in the form of guarantees. It reiterated that an unlimited State guarantee in favour of an undertaking whose legal form rules out bankruptcy or other insolvency procedures grants an immediate advantage to that undertaking and constitutes State aid, in that it is granted without the recipient thereof paying the appropriate fee for taking the risk supported by the State and also allows better financial terms for a loan to be obtained than those normally available on the financial markets. Thus, as the above Commission Notice prescribes, even if it turns out that no payments are ever made by the State under a guarantee, there may nevertheless be State aid under article 107(1) TFEU. Pursuant to that reasoning, the aid is deemed to be granted at the moment when the guarantee is given, not when the guarantee is invoked nor when payments are made under the terms of the guarantee. Consequently, in the context of the procedure relating to existing schemes of aid, to prove the advantage obtained by such a guarantee to the recipient undertaking, it is sufficient for the Commission to establish the mere existence of that guarantee, without having to show the actual effects produced by it from the time that it is granted.
As a result, guarantee as a State aid measure entails a transfer of State resources more easily than it could be assumed. There might be some kind of a ‘plausible’ remoteness between the conferment of a guarantee and the fulfillment of the condition of a transfer of public resources. However, this impediment was set aside and an artificial vicinity between those two situations was established by the adoption of an expansive definition of the concept of State resources transfer.
 Commission Notice on the application of Articles 87 [EC] and 88 [EC] to State aid in the form of guarantees (OJ 2008 C 155, p. 10)