State Aid and EU/EEA Law
We have a strong team of lawyers with extensive expertise in competition law, public procurement, state aid, and EU/EEA law. These are highly demanding areas of law, which have a significant impact on both the private and public sectors.
Our team of lawyers work with each of these areas of law on a daily basis, and has the experience, competence and capacity to handle any type of case.
Our state aid lawyers have extensive experience with all types of state aid cases. In addition to their experience as private practitioners, our team can draw on their first-hand experience of working within the Competition and State Aid Department of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
The state aid team assists both public bodies and potential state aid beneficiaries with a wide variety of issues, such as state-aid risk assessments, private law disputes, as well as complaints and notifications to ESA.
In particular, our team has considerable experience in handling notifications to ESA of major state aid grants for the development of environmental technology and other environmental measures in the industry. The team also regularly advises on state aid issues in major government reorganisations and in large property transactions, including sales, lease agreements, purchases and expropriations, on behalf of different public bodies. Additionally, the state aid team assists potential state aid beneficiaries in organising their projects so that they qualify for state aid, or so that transactions involving public authorities comply with all applicable state aid rules.
The team has also carried out several major studies on state aid issues on behalf of various public authorities.
Our lawyers also provide assistance in connection with other types of EU and EEA legal issues. EEA law has gradually gained in importance in a multitude of business areas, from regulation of financial markets to food hygiene. A recurrent issue is the relationship between national regulation and the EEA Agreement rules on the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital, but issues may also arise in relation to directives and regulations included in the EEA Agreement.
A large number of our lawyers have previous experience from working within EU/EEA institutions, such as the EU Commission, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and the EFTA Court, and have on many occasions represented clients before the EU Commission, as well as ESA and the EFTA Court. We therefore have an excellent basis to handle all types of EU and EEA legal issues, in cooperation with our firm's specialists in the affected area where needed.
- Assessment of whether a planned measure entails state aid within the meaning of the EEA Agreement and whether the aid falls under a block exception or may be approved as compatible aid
- Assistance in drawing up state aid measures - both individual measures and aid schemes – to ensure that they are covered by an exemption or can be approved
- Assistance to the aid grantor in ESA notifications, both in drafting of the notification, dialogue with the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries and ESA, informal clarifications (pre-notification) and the formal notification procedure itself
- Assistance in connection with the submission of complaints to ESA
- Enforcement of the state aid rules in civil law disputes, including national courts and arbitration processes, e.g. where an agreement with the public sector is alleged to involve illegal state aid
- Assistance to potential state aid beneficiaries where illegal state aid may have been granted
- Assistance in reorganisation processes in the public sector / economic activity in the public sector, with the aim of excluding state aid
Read our articles on State Aid and EU/EEA Law
In most instances, only transactions with an EU dimension - that is transactions where the parties involved exceed certain turnover thresholds - qualify for review by the European Commission ("the Commission") under the EU Merger Regulation ("the EUMR"). However one mechanism, found in Article 22 EUMR, allows one or more Member States to request the Commission to examine, on behalf of those Member States, any concentration that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade between Member States and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member State(s) making the request.
The Foreign Subsidies Regulation ("FSR") (Regulation (EU) 2022/2560 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2022 on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market) aims to expand EU/EEA state aid control to financial contributions from third countries, in order to prevent "foreign subsidies" from distorting the internal market.
On Friday 31 March, the Government submitted a bill proposing amendments to the Norwegian Security Act. The proposed changes may mean that far more transactions will be subject to FDI screening, and changes in the procedural rules may have a major impact on deals, not least with respect to deal timetable.