Depiction of State Aid and Subsidy Control

State Aid and Subsidy Control

Robust and innovative advice

State aid and subsidy control rules have come under the spotlight as a result of the unprecedented amount of state aid provided during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent energy crisis, and its important role in helping to achieve the Green Deal objectives, in light of the scale of the investments required.

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK has recently introduced its own Subsidy Control regime. The EU has also introduced the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), which complements the European Commission’s toolkit with the power to assess subsidies provided by foreign countries, in particular in the context of large mergers and public procurement tenders.

Our state aid and subsidy control experts have unrivalled expertise and experience in this area, enabling us to support you with a unique combination of economic and financial analysis.

Our team’s powerful blend of state aid and subsidy control expertise and cross-sectoral knowledge (from energy to broadband, financial services, post, transport, sports infrastructure, and more) ensure that you’ll benefit from our deep understanding as we work alongside you and your legal advisers.

A respected view

We have unrivalled experience assisting companies, public authorities, and government departments with economic and financial analysis across a wide range of state aid and subsidy control matters.

In light of our extensive experience, we have strong working relationships with senior staff at the European Commission, including the Chief Economist Team, and we have undertaken major policy studies for the Commission on state aid matters. Many individuals at Oxera have also had experience working at the Commission. Similarly, our experts have also been involved in the first Subsidy Control cases in the UK.

From our offices in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe, we support clients across the EU, in EU accession states, and in the UK on a range of state aid and subsidy control matters.

It’s a good thing, then, that we speak over 30 languages, meaning that you’ll get localised support when you need it—although whichever language we’re speaking, we have a reputation for the very best financial and economic analysis that is highly regarded by the European Commission, national authorities, and courts.

How we operate

We understand the importance of presenting a strong case when it comes to economic and financial aspects for relevant authorities. That’s why we go above and beyond to collaborate with our clients in order to prepare a solid foundation. Our main focus is on listening to our clients’ needs and providing them with straightforward, easy-to-understand advice that is backed by our extensive knowledge in economics and finance. When it comes to matters concerning state aid and subsidy control, our experienced team of expert economists is well-equipped to provide compelling testimony in courts, tribunals, and arbitration bodies.

We undertake a wide range of economic and financial analysis to help clients on state aid and subsidy control matters, including:

  • financial due diligence to assess whether arrangements are on market terms (i.e. to apply the market economy operator principle, MEOP)
  • economic and financial analysis to help clients during a state aid investigation or a notification of foreign subsidies to the European Commission
  • economic and financial analysis to assess whether state aid is compatible with the relevant state aid rules, ranging from assessing the proportionality and the incentive effects of aid to analysing the impact of aid on competition and trade
  • economic and financial analysis under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, ranging from assessing whether foreign financial contributions confer an advantage to the recipient and therefore may constitute a subsidy, to analysing the effects (whether distortive or positive) of foreign subsidies
  • financial analysis to assess whether aid for Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) is in line with the relevant state aid rules
  • economic and financial analysis in state aid litigation, including preparing expert reports and expert testimony in front of the courts
  • economic and financial analysis in the context of damages claims arising from illegal state aid
  • assessment of the commercial market operator principle and the subsidy control principles under the Subsidy Control Act in the UK, including in the context of referrals of subsidies to the Competition and Markets Authority, and preparation of expert reports in the context of challenges in front of the Court

Our experience

Does your organisation need help from our state aid and subsidy control experts? Below are a few examples of how we’ve helped organisations to reach a successful outcome:

  • supporting Ryanair in its successful challenge of the c. €7bn state aid packages received by Lufthansa and SAS in front of the EU General Court
  • supporting governments with the pricing of proposed debt transactions and the valuation of equity transactions to ensure compliance with the MEOP
  • advised a major multinational on a state aid investigation by the European Commission into the company’s tax rulings in an EU member state
  • study for the European Commission of the impact of aid on competition, including developing an economics framework to assess the main drivers of the impact of aid on competition
  • advising a major multinational on the notification to the European Commission of proposed investment aid under the Regional Aid Guidelines
  • economic analysis to assist the Czech government in its notification of aid for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic
  • ex post evaluation of a tax measure for a French authority
  • advising governments on economic and financial analysis to support notifications of restructuring aid for companies in financial difficulty
  • helping Valencia football club to victory in its appeal to the General Court over a European Commission decision that the club had received over €20m in unlawful state aid

State Aid and Subsidy Control Insights

23 minute read
There have already been two well-publicised requests for the Commission to use its ex officio powers under the EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), to investigate alleged distortive subsidies granted to…
16 minute read
The EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) becomes applicable this year. To assess its potential impact, we ask: what might have happened had the Regulation been applied to the acquisition of…