• State aid & unfair competition

The recent economic crisis has led to regular government incentives for companies in the Netherlands and the other EU Member States to enable them to make new investments or continue their existing business operations. This has given rise to a great many queries on the part of the government as well as recipient companies and any competitors they may have. After all, financial support can easily result in disruptions on the market and may benefit certain companies in respect of their competitors.

Government

In many cases, the government has to notify the European Commission beforehand of its intention to grant state aid to a certain enterprise. In connection with the legitimacy of such state aid, it is extremely important to establish whether this obligation to notify the European Commission actually applies, or whether an exception is possible. This is because unlawful state aid is invalid and it has to be reclaimed. At Ploum, we can advise companies and government authorities on all kinds of factors relating to state aid or proposed state aid, such as a potential exemption and ensuring that the notification procedure is carried out in the best possible way.

Recipient of state aid

It is extremely important for the enterprise receiving state aid to be aware of the risk that it may have to refund the subsidy received at a later date. Our specialists can help you assess the legitimacy of the state aid you may receive.

Competitors without state aid

It is also important for your competitors to know if they can prevent the government from granting financial assistance to another company on the market, or if they can force the government to reclaim any state aid already granted. If your enterprise entertains doubts regarding state aid granted to another company, we can help you by answering all your questions on the matter. For example, a local authority may issue a guarantee for granting bank loans to a certain company in order to start new commercial activities or guarantee innovations. This type of public guarantee may easily be considered as state aid.

Ploum can act on your behalf in proceedings where the government invokes illegal state aid as grounds for refusing to fulfil its obligations or honour guarantees any longer, or for withdrawing these guarantees.