Nicole Robins


+32 (0) 2 793 07 14

Location: Brussels and Oxford

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Nicole leads Oxera’s State Aid team. She advises clients on a diverse range of state aid matters across a number of sectors, including transport, financial services, health, communications, energy, real estate and sports infrastructure.

She advises clients on a broad range of economic and financial issues in state aid cases relating to assessments of the market economy operator principle (MEOP), the application of state aid rules for services of general economic interest (SGEI), and the compatibility of aid. She also provides advice on matters relating to state aid compliance. Nicole has a wide breadth of experience in the field of state aid, with regular speaking engagements and publications on state aid matters in the leading competition journals.

Selected project experience

  • Ongoing state aid advice to a large international investor in a motorsport facility, focusing on the MEOP assessment of a state guarantee on a loan (2016–)

  • Ongoing advice to an airport in Sweden on matters relating to the notification of investment aid (2016–)

  • Expert advice to a top Spanish football club in relation to an appeal of a state aid decision (2016)

  • State aid advice for a large client in Sweden on matters relating to the application of the MEOP (2016)

  • Advice to airports in Italy in relation to the compatibility of investment aid and MEOP assessments of agreements with airlines (2016)

  • Advice to a large sea port in the Netherlands on state aid matters (2016)

  • Ongoing state aid advice to Ryanair, including on cases in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain (2011–16)

  • State aid advice to a large airport on MEOP assessments of loan arrangements (2016)

  • Expert advice on MEOP-related issues as part of a state aid appeal in front of the General Court, including advice on tax state aid matters (2015–16)

  • Expert advice on a state aid litigation case in Germany (2015–16)

  • Ongoing advice to Wizz Air in relation to a number of state aid investigations, including cases in Germany, Romania and Spain (2011–16)

  • Advice to RWE and Drax in relation to the compatibility of aid in the form of  Contracts for Difference for the conversion of coal power plants to biomass (2015–16)

  • Advice to an EU member state in Southern Europe on state aid issues in relation to the notification of long-term contracts for a new power plant (2015–16)

  • Ongoing advice to the Health Insurance Authority on state aid matters under the SGEI framework (2012–16)

  • Assisting an airport in Italy with state aid submissions in relation to the compatibility of infrastructure aid and MEOP assessments of airline agreements (2014–16)

  • Advice to a client in the insurance sector on the role of efficiency incentives in determining compensation for providers of SGEI (2014)

  • Preparation of an expert report regarding the legality of contracts in Latvia under state aid rules (2014)

  • Advice to a sea port in the Netherlands on state aid issues relating to infrastructure aid and user agreements (2014)

  • Advising an industry association on brand valuation issues as part of a state aid submission to the European Commission (2014)

  • Advising a large infrastructure provider on state aid compliance (2013–14)

  • Profitability assessments in relation to the MEOP (2011)

  • Assessment of the benefits associated with USO provision by an incumbent telecoms operator (2010–11)

  • Advice to the European Commission on counterfactual scenarios to restructuring state aid (2009–10)

  • Advice to clients on issues relating to rescue and restructuring aid (2009)

  • State aid advice to a client in the defence sector on MEOP-compliant rates for the use of infrastructure (2008–09)

Selected publications

  • Robins, N. (2017), ‘Assessing state aid in the beautiful game’, Global Sports Law & Taxation Reports, 8:2, 2017/17, June, pp. 26–30.

  • Robins, N., Shamsi, S. and Solomon, P. (2016), ‘Compensatory measures in the banking sector’, in J. Gray, F. de Cecco and F.-C. Laprévote (eds), Research Handbook on State aid in the Banking Sector, Edward Elgar Publishing.

  • Kavanagh, J. and Robins, N. (2016), ‘Introduction to State Aid Law and Policy’, in K. Bacon (ed.), European Union Law Of State Aid, Oxford University Press.

  • Robins, N. and Chakma, T. (2016), ‘State Aid in Energy under the Spotlight: The Implications of the Hinkley Point Decision’, European State Aid Law Quarterly, 15:2, pp. 247–57.

  • Robins, N. and Kavanagh, J. (2015), ‘Corporate Tax Arrangements under EU State Aid Scrutiny: The Application of the Market Economy Operator Principle’, European State Aid Law Quarterly, 14:3, pp. 358–70.

  • Kavanagh, J., Robins, N. and Chakma, T. (2015), ‘State aid scrutiny of corporate tax arrangements’, Competition Law Journal, 14:3, pp. 199–205.

  • Robins, N. (2013), ‘The Implications of State Aid Modernisation’, Competition Law Journal, 12:2, pp. 251–8.


  • MSc Economics and Finance, Warwick Business School

  • BSc Business Economics with Computing, University of Surrey

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