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Competition & State aid

EU Law

The Competition & State Aid Team consists of experienced attorneys at law and offers in-depth expertise regarding all aspects of competition and state aid law. We assist public authorities, trade associations and undertakings in European law matters. Our services range from legal advice on ambiguities in the application of the law to assistance in the event of a raid and/or enforcement by (competition) authorities (ACM, European Commission, OLAF, European Public Prosecutor’s Office). 

We have experience in navigating complex issues concerning merger control, abuse of dominant position and state aid rules. This enables us to advise you on the most effective strategy to pursue. Where necessary, we represent parties before both national courts, and the Court of Justice of the EU. We also support our clients in contacts and/or proceedings with relevant (competition) authorities.  

Within the European law Team, we have relevant expertise in areas including competition law, state aid law, the Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act, procurement law and the Didam judgment. By working in multidisciplinary teams, we can provide clients with comprehensive advice and assistance. 

Your specialist
Pieter van den Oord

Attorney at law

You can contact us for the following

We advise undertakings on setting up distribution channels within an international / European setting. Examples include distribution agreements, franchise agreements and agency agreements. We review cooperation agreements between competitors, licence agreements, supply agreements, research and development agreements, production agreements and more.  

We are happy to explain which agreements you can and cannot enter into. We map out whether the provisions in your agreement comply with competition law and explore the possibilities of application of exemptions.   

In addition to reviewing agreements, we advise undertakings and trade associations on compliance with competition law. We advise on the exchange of (competition-sensitive) information between undertakings and/or within a trade association, decisions of a trade association and/or concerted practices between undertakings to coordinate behaviour. We also assist in the drafting of compliance regulations and/or provide courses and information to your organisation and employees to prevent unauthorised agreements. 

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures above a certain size must be notified to a competition authority for approval. Whether approval is required from the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets, the European Commission or the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) depends on the turnover and/or sector of the undertakings involved in the merger or acquisition. We map out whether the concentration concerned requires notification with an authority, and support you during the notification procedure. As of recently, investments in certain sectors are assessed under the Foreign Subsidy Regulation and the Vifo Act. We are available to advise and assist you in these matters. Additionally, we are also at your disposal if you wish to object to the merger or acquisition of competitors.   

Breaches of competition rules can lead to large fines, reputational damage, directors’ liability and compensation proceedings. We can support you in the event that the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) or other (European) regulators launch an investigation into your undertaking. We identify the risks and advise on subsequent actions. We can also assist you in filing a complaint with the ACM or European Commission regarding a competitor abusing its dominant position and/or about (prohibited) cartel agreements. 

State aid can create unfair competition by providing undertakings with an advantage over competitors, for example in the form of subsidies, guarantees, options, land transactions, money loans and tax benefits. For this reason, state aid is in principle prohibited unless an exemption applies. In principle, an agreement in breach of state aid rules is rendered void, potentially leading to undoing obligations years after the conclusion of an agreement, which can be detrimental to all parties involved. The European Commission primarily controls the implementation of state aid, but litigation on (the consequences of) unlawful state aid is also conducted in the civil courts.   

We help national and international undertakings, governments and institutions with practical advice on state aid rules. For example, we map out for you whether there is a case of state aid, determining how it can be formed within the applicable frameworks and exceptions to prevent unlawful state aid and whether a proposed state aid measure needs to be notified to the European Commission. Additionally, we assist stakeholders who are harmed by potential unlawful state aid to competitors and/or other undertakings. 

We help both public authorities and entrepreneurs with practical advice on state aid rules. We will, for example, assess whether or not you have to report an intended aid measure to the European Commission and advise you on how to prevent unlawful state aid and overcompensation.

For entrepreneurs, we will identify the potential risks involved in receiving state aid and help you when you suspect that one of your competitors has received unlawful state aid.

The Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act aims to curb unfair competition by the government when it carries out economic activities. The Act defines a number of rules of conduct that the government must comply with when competing with entrepreneurs. These rules apply to the central government, provinces, municipalities, water boards, independent administrative bodies and partnerships between authorities. We help authorities with the correct application of these rules of conduct, advise on the application of exceptions in the public interest and assist entrepreneurs if they suspect unfair competition by the authorities. 

We also advise on all other aspects of European law. We think of the application and interpretation of treaties, regulations, directives, communications. Examples include the application of the Services Directive, (Russian) sanctions legislation and application to entrepreneurs, financial regulations of the European Commission and agencies, free movement provisions (employees, capital, establishment, goods). We have experience with European subsidy rules and extensive experience with relevant bodies such as the European Commission, OLAF, agencies (REA, HaDEA). 

Call: +31 172 530 250