The European Union imposes very tight disciplines on EU Member States relating to the granting of any kind of publicly financed benefits to private market players. This area of EU law has recently grown in importance following the 2008 credit crunch and the huge bail out programmes EU Member States implemented in order to ensure the ongoing integrity of their economies. Members of KA Legal have been at the forefront of EU State aids law developments for almost 30 years and have been advising Governments and corporates on the application of EU State aids rules focusing on the shipbuilding, air transport, media / telecoms, ports /terminals, energy and banking/financial institutions sectors. Over the years, members of KA Legal participated in several landmark State aids cases both before the European Commission and the European Courts in Luxembourg representing alleged recipients of State aid, complainants, awarding authorities, Governments and public bodies. They also frequently assist clients during recovery proceedings and litigation at national level. Members of KA Legal regularly advise Governments and Governmental agencies in structuring their State aid schemes in compliance with EU State aid rules.
Our recent experience includes:
Representing a major Italian media group in a substantial State aid dispute before the EU General Court and, on appeal, the European Court of Justice.
Advising several regional development agencies in various projects that involve diverse State aid advice, such as environmental, regional, rescue & restructuring, R & D and other types and specific forms of aid.
We have been regularly called upon to advise major financial institutions and Governments regarding State aid during the financial crisis.
Drafting an EU Member State's national legislation with regard to temporary State aid support to its banking sector in an attempt to deal with the financial crisis.
Advising Hellas Gold S.A. in an in depth "Phase II" State aid investigation of the European Commission alleging the acquisition of certain assets below market value and representing this company before the EU General Court.
Representing OTE, the major reek telecoms operator, in EU State aids procedures concerning the State funding €400 million of the total cost of OTE's Voluntary Retirement Scheme of €1.5 billion; and securing State aid clearance by the European Commission in this matter.
Representing the Greek Government in an in depth EU State aids investigation concerning Hellenic Shipyards. We ensured that the State aids recovery order would not be enforced against the military assets of the shipyard that are exempt from the application of EU law.
Advising and representing the Greek Government in landmark notification procedures and achieving clearance of a scheme in relation to the reform of the Greek pension system in the financial sector to bring it in line with International Accounting Standards..
Advising a major international industry association on the applicability of State aid rules in the air transport sector with particular emphasis on the operation, by certain EU airports, of certain allegedly "discriminatory" charging patterns and policies financed by regional governments.
Advising several airlines on compliance with the EU Aviation Emission Trading Scheme.
Advising and representing a major EU energy intensive industrial producer in European Commission procedures concerning the price of electricity charged by the incumbent electricity producer. This case also involved the assessment of an independent arbitration award on electricity pricing under the EU State aids rules.
Representing a major international port operator in EU State aids procedures concerning tax advantages allegedly granted by an EU Member State in the framework of a concession agreement.
Successfully advising and representing a major international port operator in EU State aids procedures relating to a post-award amendment of its concession agreement with the Government of an EU Member State.
Advising private electricity producers on EU State aids procedures relating to capacity adequacy mechanisms.
Advising a major EU cement producers association in procedures for the exemption of the sector from the EU Emission Trading Mechanism.