State Aid

We are Stibbe State Aid specialists

We assist clients with analysis, adaptation, notification and litigation on State aid issues such as government subsidies, local authority support and exemption or reduction from taxes.

State Aid

As an increasingly important part of EU competition law, we assist companies and governments on a daily basis with practical State aid advice, notifications to the European Commission and complex litigation matters both at national and EU level.

Our team has a deep understanding of the principles and processes needed to ensure that the entire subsidy application and granting process is lawful under national rules and in particular with EU State aid rules.

Our intervention covers both the structuring of projects from a State aid perspective, preparing and defending notifications, recovery of illegal State aid, drafting of legislation and infringement procedures.

Matters include environmental subsidies for companies and power plants, national or local State support for small and large infrastructure projects, tax exemptions, and public transport subsidies. In these areas we handle litigation, transactional advice and hold informal contacts with the EU Commission.

Of particular note is our involvement with many landmark and high-profile State aid litigation cases before the European Commission, EU courts and various national courts. 

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03.06.2021 NL law
First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infringement

Short Reads - In its judgment of 12 May 2021, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that it has not been established that it is definitively excluded that the trucks infringement led to damage to the claimants. However, this does not alter the fact that it must still be assessed for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment procedure has been met. For this to be the case, it must be plausible that a claimant may have suffered damage as a result of the unlawful actions of the truck manufacturers. The Amsterdam District Court has not yet ruled on this issue.

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03.06.2021 NL law
Highest Dutch Court: ACM has not proved dominance of Dutch railway operator NS

Short Reads - A high market share is not always proof of a dominant position. The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) upheld the annulment of the ACM’s fine of nearly EUR 41 million on Dutch railway operator NS for alleged abuse of dominance. According to the CBb, NS did not abuse its dominant position as the ACM failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that NS holds a dominant position on the market for the exercise of the right to exploit the main rail network concession.

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01.04.2021 NL law
ECJ in Pometon: beware of too much info in staggered hybrid proceedings

Short Reads - In hybrid cartel proceedings (in which one party opts out of settlement), settlement decisions should not pre-judge the outcome of the Commission's investigation into non-settling parties. When the Commission publishes the settlement decision before the decision imposing a fine on the non-settling party, it must be careful in its drafting, the European Court of Justice confirmed. Furthermore, differences in the fining methodology applied to (similarly placed) settling and non-settling parties will have to be objectively justified and sufficiently reasoned.

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20.05.2021 NL law
Het EVRM als anker om een nieuwe toeslagenaffaire te voorkomen

Articles - Had een adequate toetsing aan het EVRM de toeslagenaffaire deels kunnen voorkomen door de spijkerharde alles-of-niets-benadering aan banden te leggen? Dit artikel beantwoordt deze vraag bevestigend door te betogen dat verschillende EVRM-bepalingen een verdragsrechtelijke basis bieden om de proportionaliteit van een dergelijke benadering te toetsen. Een dergelijke toetsing bleef echter uit vanwege de ‘een-voorschot-isgeen-eigendomsrecht’-jurisprudentie van de Afdeling.

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01.04.2021 NL law
Slovak Telekom: ECJ on essentials of the ‘essential facilities’ doctrine

Short Reads - Only dominant companies with a “genuinely tight grip” on the market can be forced to grant rivals access to their infrastructure. According to the ECJ’s rulings in Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom, it is only in this scenario that the question of indispensability of the access for rivals comes into play. In the assessment of practices other than access refusal, indispensability may be indicative of a potential abuse of a dominant position, but is not a required condition.

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01.04.2021 NL law
Collective action stopped due to lack of benefit for class members

Short Reads - On 9 December 2020, the Amsterdam District Court (the “Court”) declared a foundation inadmissible in a collective action regarding alleged manipulation of LIBOR, EURIBOR and other interest rate benchmarks. The foundation sought declaratory judgments that Rabobank, UBS, Lloyds Bank and ICAP (the “defendants”) had engaged in wrongful conduct and unjust enrichment vis-à-vis the class members.

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06.05.2021 EU law
Abuse of economic dependence: lessons drawn from the first judgments

Short Reads - On 22 August 2020, the ban on abuse of economic dependence was implemented in Belgium (Article IV.2/1 of the Code of Economic Law). Now that almost a year has passed and the first judgments have been rendered, we assess what first lessons can be drawn from these judgments. The rulings show that the ban is regularly relied upon in court and has lowered the hurdle for plaintiffs to make their case.

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01.04.2021 NL law
Pay-for-delay saga ends with nothing new; but pharma quest continues

Short Reads - On 25 March 2021, the ECJ ended the Lundbeck pay-for-delay saga by dismissing the appeals from Lundbeck and five generic manufacturers against a European Commission ‘pay-for-delay’ decision. Following its recent Paroxetine judgment, the ECJ found that Lundbeck’s process patents did not preclude generic companies being viewed as potential competitors, particularly since the patents did not represent an insurmountable barrier to entry. In addition, the patent settlement agreements constituted infringements "by object".

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