State aid and subsidy control have become increasingly prominent as Governments continue to take a more interventionist approach to pursuing public policy objectives.
In the EU, the European Commission has also been actively using the State aid rules to advance broader policy interests, in particular in relation to the energy sector and in addressing multinationals’ tax planning practices. In the UK, the Government is seeking to adapt its own new subsidy control regime to best support its economic agenda.
Our team is ideally placed to help clients navigate the legal complexities of this evolving State aid and subsidy control landscape. We have extensive experience advising public bodies, utilities, private companies and governments on the State aid aspects of major projects and transactions. In recent years have been involved in numerous “Phase II” in-depth State aid investigations before the European Commission and in significant appeals of State aid decisions and related litigation in the EU and national courts. Our team comprises experienced State aid lawyers in Brussels and London but also in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
We routinely provide advice on how to best reduce possible State aid and subsidy control risk and avoid that our clients’ projects or transactions become the subject of formal proceedings. We have also successfully assisted clients whose confirmed subsidies were blocked for alleged reasons relating to State aid law or who were requested to pay back large amounts of fiscal support.
Building on our established EU State aid expertise, we have already amassed significant experience advising in relation to the UK’s nascent subsidy control framework and we are currently advising clients in relation to a number of projects that are “first of their kind” cases under the new regime.
RWE AND LYNEMOUTH POWER
In obtaining unconditional State aid clearance following an in-depth Phase II investigation, for UK support measures for the conversion of the Lynemouth coal fired power plant to biomass, creating one of the largest biomass fired power plants in Europe.
THE BELGIAN GOVERNMENT
In an in-depth Phase II State aid investigation regarding subsidies for BSE tests and in the subsequent appeal proceedings before the EU Courts.
THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT
In obtaining two State aid approvals in relation to extensions of the Istrian Y Motorway concession arrangements in Western Croatia.