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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13.09.2018 NL law
FlixBus-uitspraak over de strijd van nieuwe spelers op de openbaar vervoermarkt tegen het bestaande concessiemodel met exclusieve rechten.

Short Reads - Het verrichten van openbaar vervoer geschiedt op basis van een concessie. Een concessie is het recht om met uitsluiting van anderen openbaar vervoer te verrichten in een bepaald gebied gedurende een bepaald tijdvak, aldus artikel 1 van de Wet personenvervoer 2000 (hierna: de 'Wp 2000'). 

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01.08.2018 BE law
Belgian Court of Cassation annuls decision prohibiting pharmacists from using Google Adwords

Short Reads - On 7 June 2018, the Belgian Court of Cassation, ruled that a decision of the Pharmacists Association Appeals Council (Appeals Council) prohibiting pharmacists from using Google Adwords to offer over-the-counter (OTC) products violated Belgian competition law because the Appeals Council did not sufficiently justify why such a prohibition was necessary for health reasons. The Appeals Council must now issue a new decision.

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01.08.2018 NL law
General Court underlines importance of Commission's duty to state reasons

Short Reads - On 13 July 2018, the General Court annulled the EUR 1.13 million fine imposed on Stührk Delikatessen Import GmbH & Co. KG (Stührk) by the European Commission in 2013 for Stührk's participation in the shrimp cartel. The Court ruled that the Commission had failed to adequately state reasons in the contested decision as to why the cartel participants were granted divergent fine reductions.

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01.08.2018 NL law
Court of Appeal in the Netherlands decides to appoint independent economic experts in TenneT v ABB

Short Reads - On 20 July 2018, the Court of Appeal of Gelderland published another interim judgment in the ongoing proceedings between TenneT, the grid operator in the Netherlands, and ABB in relation to the gas insulated switchgear (GIS) infringement. After the Dutch Supreme Court had confirmed in a judgment of 8 July 2016 [see our August 2016 Newsletter] that the passing-on defence is available under Dutch law, the Court of Appeal of Gelderland decided to appoint independent economic experts to provide input on the calculation of overcharge and the existence of pass-on.

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01.08.2018 NL law
European Court of Justice dismissed Orange Polska’s appeal in abuse of dominance case

Short Reads - On 25 July 2018, the European Court of Justice rejected Orange Polska's appeal relating to a European Commission decision finding an abuse of dominance on the Polish wholesale broadband market. The judgment clarifies that the Commission does not have to take into account the actual or likely effects of an infringement when determining the amount of the fine.

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02.07.2018 NL law
General Court delivers judgments on the scope of dawn raid decisions

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