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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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03.12.2020 NL law
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Jurisdictional hide & seek: merger thresholds and buyer joint ventures

Short Reads - Companies beware: the turnover of a joint venture buying a target is not necessarily decisive for determining whether the EU merger thresholds are met. The General Court fully upheld the Commission’s 2017 decision prohibiting the joint acquisition of Cemex’s Hungarian and Croatian subsidiaries by cement companies HeidelbergCement and Schwen Zement through their full-function joint venture (JV).

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01.10.2020 NL law
Directors' liability due to competition law infringements by the company

Short Reads - The District Court Noord-Nederland recently allowed the trustees in bankruptcy of Northsea shrimp trading company Heiploeg to recover part of a EUR 27 million cartel fine from a former director. Internationally, the question whether companies can recover competition law fines through civil claims against individuals involved in the competition law infringement, is controversial. The court held, however, that the director’s personal involvement in the infringement amounted to ‘serious mismanagement’, triggering personal liability to pay damages.

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01.10.2020 NL law
Cigarettes producers fined for alleged indirect info exchange

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On the right track? GC sends mixed messages with Lithuanian Railways

Short Reads - The essential facilities doctrine imposes on holders of indispensable facilities a duty to deal with their competitors. While a railway track may seem essential, a track’s removal does not fall under this doctrine if carried out by a monopolist manager of a state-developed facility bearing a statutory obligation to grant third parties access to its facilities. According to the General Court, the Commission was therefore correct to use the general framework for abuse of a dominant position to assess the Lithuanian railway operator’s removal of a railway track.

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05.11.2020 NL law
Belgian prohibition on abuse of economic dependence comes into force and new fining guidelines

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Short Reads - The results of the European Commission’s evaluation of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) call for more clarity and convergence in the interpretation of certain (online) vertical restrictions. However, the Dutch competition authority (the ACM) and the Dutch courts cannot wait for the European Commission’s revised VBER rules to deal with such sales restrictions.

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01.10.2020 NL law
If you can’t stand the heat: kitchen retailers fined for misleading consumers

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