State aid law
To ensure fair competition within the European internal market, there are state aid rules for public authorities. We advise (semi-)public authorities and companies on the state aid aspects involved in, among other things, the purchase and sale of land, PPP constructions, financing constructions (subsidies, loans and guarantees) and area developments (e.g., renegotiation of contracts).
The state aid rules have implications not just for public authorities, but also for market parties. If it is found that state aid was given but wrongly not notified, it is possible that a court may rule that an agreement or contract is null and void or the European Commission may determine that the state aid should be recovered from the beneficiary.
Aid must be notified in advance to the European Commission, which then assesses whether the aid is compatible with the internal market. Notification is not necessary if no selective advantage is conferred, with the aid instead being given in line with the arm’s length principle, for example. Notification is also not necessary if an exemption applies.
Semi governments can also provide state aid. This is the case if the aid measure can be attributed to an "underlying" government. So it is important to be clear in advance whether there are potential state aid risks and, if so, to what extent they can be mitigated.
We take an integral approach when advising on the possibilities of preventing or justifying state aid. This means that we look not only at the state aid rules, but also at the connection with procurement law, scarce rights, administrative law (for example, subsidies) and contract formation. Our firm has specialists in each of these areas, enabling us to come up with integral solutions quickly and efficiently together. We also work closely with appraisers.
Increasing case law shows that enforcement of state aid law is increasingly going through the national civil courts. In addition to our advisory work, we also litigate, for governments, as well as for beneficiaries or for aggrieved competitors.
We advise public authorities as well as market parties on state aid issues. We also assist our clients in investigations by the European Commission into, and the reporting of complaints to the European Commission regarding, suspected unlawful aid, and we represent our clients in proceedings at the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg.
Why choose Straatman Koster advocaten?
Our lawyers have extensive litigation experience, in preliminary relief proceedings as well as in proceedings on the merits, from District Court level up to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and the Court of Justice of the European Union. We also have experience in proceedings under the Government Information (Public Access) Act/Open Government Act as well as in assisting with the notification of aid to the European Commission. Many of our lawyers teach at renowned institutions and publish regularly in leading journals, reviews and guides.