State Aid

State aid may be involved in any transaction between a public institution and the private sector. In fact, any non-market-compliant transaction with a company carries a risk of state aid that's in violation of European rules. Companies run considerable financial risks in this respect; as unlawful aid has to be repaid, while investments have often already been made.

I'd be happy to help you. Please feel free to contact me for advice on State Aid

Ekram Belhadj

Lawyer

Our state aid lawyers

Nysingh’s state aid specialists advise on the setting up of financial relationships and transactions between government and business. In addition, we make sure that you can rely on these transactions remaining viable.

 

Nysingh has had extensive involvement in state aid practice, for many years. As advisers to central government, municipalities, water boards, provinces, businesses and sector organisations, we have special expertise in this area.

 

So we can, of course, tell you what is and what is not allowed under the state aid rules. But many advisors can do that. The added value of Nysingh is that our practical experience and extensive knowledge of the state aid practice of the European Commission (also with regard to other Member States) makes us a valuable partner and contributor to your thinking. Together with you, we can design transactions in such a way that you avoid ‘Brussels’ problems. We also have a good, direct and informal relationship with the European Commission, from which you can benefit.

 

We’d be happy to help you. Please feel free to contact us for advice on:

  • grant funding
  • loans, guarantees or risk capital provision
  • participations in companies
  • sports support for swimming pools or other sports facilities
  • services of general economic interest (SGEI)
  • notification of an aid measure to the European Commission
  • the General Block Exemption Regulation (BER)
  • investment funds
  • support for infrastructure and area development (ports, airports, sports infrastructure, real estate and land transactions)
  • state aid and land acquisition
  • energy transition and environmental aid
  • a complaint about an unlawful aid measure
  • European Commission investigations into unlawful aid
  • recovery of state aid

Staatssteun

Notification of an aid measure to the European Commission

The basic principle is that State aid must be notified in advance to the European Commission in order to obtain the necessary authorisation for an aid measure. In the case of a so-called block exemption, the European Commission does not have to be asked for permission beforehand. We always look at whether support can be designed in such a way that a block exemption can be invoked.

 

However, due to set policy objectives, aid cannot always be designated in such a way that it fulfils the criteria of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). In such cases the aid must be notified to the Commission. And, also in such case, we will advise you on the design of the aid, so that there is a good chance that the Commission will approve it. We draw up the report for you and maintain contact with the European Commission, with contact persons at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and with other ministries.

Experience in state aid

Nysingh’s state aid lawyers have recently advised on the following matters:

  • financing relocation of a tourist attraction (involving more than €100 million)
  • financing (air)ports
  • creation of various investment funds
  • funding €50 million for an ice stadium
  • compensation in the event of business relocation
  • setting up a sustainable energy company
  • financing projects in the context of energy transition, including investments in various heat networks
  • construction of a variety of infrastructure projects, tailored to specific businesses
  • construction to provide €200 million for crisis measures to facilitate major construction projects
  • financing of nature conservation activities
  • financing of a large research and development centre
  • industry subsidy (involving several hundreds of millions of euros)
  • setting up public enterprises

For several of these cases we acted in the notification procedures to the European Commission and obtained approval from the Commission.

Services of general economic interest (SGEI)

If an undertaking provides a ‘service of general economic interest’ (SGEI) and receives compensation for it, such compensation is not regarded as state aid if certain provisions are met. However, the definition of a service of general economic interest and the way in which the compensation is organised is a complex issue. We can also advise you in this area.

Complaint or recovery regarding state aid

We can also assist you if the European Commission opens an investigation (whether as a result of a complaint or otherwise) into unlawful aid. We assist various parties in the context of Commission investigations into aid. We also have experience with proceedings before the civil courts on the recovery of state aid.

State aid and land acquisition

Nysingh’s state aid and land acquisition (expropriation and servitude) lawyers often work as a team to advise (local) governments on large land acquisition assignments. One of the issues we assess is whether the intended expropriation compensation or compensation for disadvantages fits within the frameworks of environmental law and European law.

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