Development, knowledge sharing and dialogue. This summarises the aim of the Danish State Aid Law Association, which was founded recently at the initiative of, among others, Michael Honoré, who is vice-chairman and secretary of the association.
The association's executive committee includes state aid experts from the Confederation of Danish Industry, other Danish law firms, the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Copenhagen Business School and the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth.
Knowledge of state aid rules often inadequate
There is a considerable need for businesses and authorities to become familiar with the state aid rules. During the past two years, the European Commission has been implementing a comprehensive reform, among other things to decentralise responsibility for compliance with the state aid rules. This means that the authorities of the Member States, including regions and municipalities, are to a greater extent than previously responsible for ensuring that the rules are complied with.
Objects of the association
The association has been established to create a forum for development and exchange of knowledge and experience of the application of state aid rules between universities, private operators and public authorities.
In addition, it is hoped that the association will stimulate dialogue and debate, improve understanding and generally enhance the professional interaction between lawyers, economists and other practitioners engaged in state aid matters.
State aid to businesses takes many forms and may in many cases distort competition in contravention of EU state aid rules and Danish law. Breach of the state aid rules may have significant consequences for the authorities, the recipient businesses and their competitors.
However, there are several ways in which state aid can be granted legally. It is therefore an important task for authorities, recipient businesses and competitors to assess whether an initiative implies state aid and, if so, whether the aid granted is compatible with EU state aid rules. In practice, this represents a major challenge because of the extensive body of rules and case law, which are, moreover, undergoing continuous dynamic development.
The association will be holding an opening event on 1 December 2014 from 2.30 pm to 5 pm at the Confederation of Danish Industry, Copenhagen, where Nicola Pesaresi, Head of Unit at the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission and a leading state aid expert, will talk about the state aid reform and its consequences. Everybody is welcome!