State aid rules – to give or not to give?
The purpose of the EU state aid rules is to ensure that competition is not distorted. Distortion can occur when public entities such as the state, municipalities or state-owned enterprises take measures that creates a competitive advantage for a private or public entity. The rules are complex so it is important for all parties involved to know what possibilities that exist to lawfully give aid, when further measures are required or when aid may be impermissible and to recognize the risks involved.
State aid disputes are becoming increasingly common in Sweden and the European Commission is regularly taking measures to prevent unlawful state aid, but also to approve state aid measures that are in compliance with the applicable rules.
The state aid regulations do not only apply to monetary aid, since state aid can take a variety of forms. The rules can apply to many situations e.g. the provision of goods, services, loans and guarantees on preferential terms, sales or leases of public property at discounted rates, infrastructure investments, cost coverage for research and development, and tax schemes.
Delphi’s state aid team advises both public and private entities in questions concerning state aid measures, and can assist in matters including:
- Representing our clients in contacts with the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and the European Commission in complaints and notification procedures, as well as in court proceedings.
- Preventative measures such as tailored compliance training programs for our clients, and assisting in the drafting of state aid guidelines and assess what possibilities there are to grant aid.
- Apart from advising in matters regarding the EU state aid regulations, we also advice our clients regarding the related rules in the Swedish Local Government Act.