Cleary Gottlieb has significant experience advising on the fast-growing body of EU State aid rules and jurisprudence across a range of industry sectors.

The firm has acted in a large number of cases and has advised all typical parties to State aid proceedings: governments, potential beneficiaries and third-party complainants.

Our clients are active in a broad spectrum of economic activities, including the aeronautics, agriculture, airlines, automotive, banking, chemical, manufacturing and transport sectors. We have also represented numerous clients before the European Commission and contested the authorization or rejection of State aid before European and national courts.

Notable Experiences

  • Alitalia before the Court of First Instance in the action for annulment of the July 2001 EU Commission decision to authorize State aid conditionally, following annulment by the same Court in December 2000 of a prior similar decision concerning Alitalia; and on its intervention in support of the EU Commission in the proceedings instituted before the European Court of First Instance by competing air carrier Air One for the annulment of a Commission decision clearing Alitalia’s recapitalization plan.

  • Allergopharma in its appeal before the General Court against a Commission decision allowing State aid to companies in financial difficulties in the German pharmaceutical sector.

  • Astra in the successful dismissal of appeals before the EU General Court brought by Spain, the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country, Galicia and Catalonia, as well as by a number of digital terrestrial television operators, against the EU Commission decision finding that the State measures at issue constituted unlawful and incompatible State aid.

  • Belgian State and bpost in connection with a State aid review of Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) compensation by the EU Commission between 2009 and 2013.

  • BNP Paribas in the merger control and State aid aspects of its €14.5 billion acquisition of a 75% stake in Fortis Bank, of a 25% stake in Fortis Insurance Belgium, and of a 67% stake in Fortis Banque Luxembourg.

  • Caisse des Dépôt et Consignations on State aid aspects of certain guarantees granted to its subsidiaries and with respect to the creation of CDC IXIS and the grant of a guarantee by CDC to CDC IXIS.

  • ČEZ on various matters, including advising regarding a regime to promote low-carbon sources of electricity generation, and on electricity distribution licenses and the establishment of a nuclear plant.

  • Dexia in relation to all EU State aid aspects of its recapitalization plan, including capital injections by Dexia’s Belgian shareholders and the governments of Belgium, France and LuxembourgFondo Interbancario di Tutela dei Depositi in connection with the European Commission State aid investigation into the restructuring of Banca Tercas.

  • EDF on litigation regarding potential State aid in connection with the sale of EnBW to the Land Baden-Württemberg.

  • Millennium BCP, the largest Portuguese retail bank, on its capital increase of €3.5 billion.

  • Ryanair in 30+ appeals before the EU General Court or the Court of Justice against EC decisions concerning Covid-related aid to certain airlines. The cases already decided have led to nine annulment judgments for a total amount of aid of c. €25 billion (including aid to Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and TAP).

  • SACE before the EU General Court in successfully obtaining the partial suspension of an EU Commission order to repay contested State aid. This is one of the very few instances in EU case law in which an application for suspension of an order to repay State aid declared illegal and incompatible has been granted.

  • Sky Italia a satellite broadcaster in Italy, in connection with subsidies granted to Italian terrestrial and cable digital television operators, both in the proceedings before the Commission and in the litigation before the General court and the Court of Justice.

  • SNCM (partly-owned by Veolia) in litigations before the European General Court and the European Court of Justice involving alleged State aid for an amount of around € 400 million.

  • Telefónica on an appeal before the General Court against the European Commission State aid decision in the RTVE case.

  • Various airports (in particular Klagenfurt, Carcassonne, Nimes, and Beauvais) in connection with aid to regional airports and low cost airlines.

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