Within the Procurement, Competition and State Aid specialist department, a team of lawyers have specialised in state aid law. We are able to provide a highly efficient service to clients because we have pooled our knowledge. We have extensive experience with providing legal services to awarding authorities, to companies that may be recipients and to their competitors. Your organisation may have to deal with state aid law as well. After all, state aid is a broad concept. Not only subsidies but also guarantees, options, land transactions, loans and remission of taxes or social security contributions could constitute state aid if this allows companies to acquire a non-competitive advantage. In all of these cases, our expert lawyers could guide you through this complex subject matter.
These are just some of the areas in which we can advise and guide you:
- reporting aid measures to the European Commission
- assessing and drafting government measures with state aid aspects
- conducting procedures in state aid issues
According to the European state aid rules, public authorities are prohibited from granting state aid to companies without prior consent from the European Commission. There are only in a few cases in which prior reporting of state aid is not necessary: if a so-called minimis rule or group exemption can be applied and if the support measure can be viewed as the implementation of a general scheme that has already been approved. Public authorities need not fear reporting support measures to the European Commission. By far, most of the reported cases are approved. The likelihood of success increases if the European Commission’s guidelines are taken into account when drawing up a support measure.
Sometimes, support measures stall in court. The court could determine, for example, that a support measure must not be implemented or that the company must repay a benefit that was wrongfully granted. Wrongfully granted aid must be repaid with interest. Thus it is in the interest of both the authority and the company receiving the support to comply properly by the state aid regulations. A company must not rely on the authority’s notification that everything has been properly arranged. The company has its own responsibility in the assessment as to whether a government measure constitutes state aid.
Our knowledge is your knowledge
We are pleased to share our knowledge with clients. We regularly organise state aid workshops, dealing with all matters that are of interest in this area. It is also possible for us to provide in-house information regarding this topic in consultation with you – a session that is completely tailored to your organisation.