We assist public donors and recipients in ensuring that initiatives are in compliance with the state aid rules and can be implemented with the least possible red tape. We also assist competitors of aid recipients in appealing and stopping illegal state aid.
The rules for state aid place restrictions on a government's ability to support business activities through a general prohibition against providing support that distorts competition. The rules not only include grants, but also other measures that provide a financial benefit to market operators, for example, favourable loans and guarantees, overpriced purchases and discounted sales of public assets.
However, there are a number of exemptions from the prohibition that can justify the allocation of state aid for a number of objectives, such as environmental aid, aid for rural areas, cultural support, support for research and development, etc.
Kvale has specialist expertise in all aspects of the state aid rules. Our state aid team regularly works to assess whether state aid exists, whether there are applicable exemptions and whether the leeway provided by state aid law has been exploited.
Our services include:
- Assessing whether state aid exists pursuant to Article 61(1) of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA).
- Assessing whether state aid can be allocated in accordance with exemptions from the prohibition against state aid and the formulation of state aid schemes in compliance with the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) and ESA guidelines.
- Handling of complaints and complaints relating to the allocation of state aid on behalf of market players.
- Proceedings involving the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the ESA.
- Court proceedings (national courts and EFTA Court).