Procurement & State Aid

Awarding contracts,
financing projects.

Together, procurement law and state aid law create a legal framework for business dealings in the public sector. They determine how the public sector does business and how services for the public sector must be procured and financed. As such, they also impact private companies who work for (or compete with) the public sector and government companies.

This is where we step in to help find solutions. Deploying our in-depth understanding of the sector, we take a diligent and creative approach to complex public procurement and public financing projects. The answers we deliver to our clients are legally watertight, cost-efficient, practical and easy to implement.

Public Procurement Law

Our advisory services revolve primarily around complex procurement projects in the fields of residential, healthcare, infrastructure, IT and energy. We have particular expertise in the following areas:

We make even the most complex procurement projects manageable by creating clear structures and laying a solid foundation right from the start. By actively communicating with bidders, we ensure the entire procedure runs smoothly and the best possible service is being procured in the end.

Thanks to innovation and the inclusion of bidder expertise, we are able to optimise the services you wish to procure. We are highly familiar with “Innovation Partnerships” and “Competitive Dialogue” procedures.

In general, public authorities collaborate with government companies – or with public bodies in other municipalities – in order to perform economic tasks. We create structures for in-house tendering processes or public-public partnerships which enable the parties involved to liaise directly with each other.

The stakes for public and economic interests are often high in government procurement procedures. As a result, disputes are inevitable. We process complaints and provide representation in the event of review procedures or lawsuits for damages.

The European Commission can impose sanctions for violations against procurement law, even once the period of appeal has expired. We offer our clients legal advice and representation for such proceedings. Our primary aim, however, is to prevent affairs from reaching this point in the first place. To this end, we support our clients by coordinating procurement procedures for major infrastructure projects with the European Commission in advance.

“When it comes to state aid law, one often has to strike out into uncharted territory. The lawyers at GSK are excellent companions on such paths.”

Wibke Mellwig, Deputy Head of Office, Authority for Economy, Transport and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

“During expansion work on the ports in Lower Saxony, state aid law presented one obstacle after another. With the help of GSK, however, I was able to clear these obstacles out of the way.”

Holger Banik, CEO, Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG and JadeWeserPort Realisierungs GmbH & Co. KG

State Aid Law

When procuring services, the government has to provide adequate funding. At the same time, however, public money should not distort competition within the Common Market. State aid law stakes out the boundaries between these two diametric opposites. We will help you find the right path – regardless of whether public money is to fully or partially fund an infrastructure or a company, and regardless of whether the public sector is involved in land or company transactions. We are inquisitive by nature. This characteristic stands us in good stead, because state aid law is still developing.

And increasingly – not least as a result of the European Commission’s activities and various decisions passed by European courts of justice – it is impacting industries which traditionally believed themselves to be exempt. Nonetheless, we remain convinced that no project need miscarry on account of state aid law. Because state aid law never regulates “whether” – just “how”. We take the provisions of state aid law and find practical, cost-efficient answers – taking budget law, subsidy law, planning permission law, procurement law, corporate law and real estate law into account. We are particularly skilled in developing compliant financing strategies for traffic infrastructure projects.

We focus particularly on advising regional authorities and government companies on the following fields:

We show our clients how to structure their financing without involving state aid, or how to gain exemption from prohibitions (e.g., gaining exemption for state aid via the Block Exemption Regulation, or via entrustments in accordance with the EU Exemption for Services of General Interest).  When working with government companies, we liaise closely with our tax consultants to ensure state aid solutions mesh neatly with taxation solutions.

When clients plan to sell government companies or land, we provide the requisite legal advice to ensure the sale does not conflict with state aid regulations.

We support you and your project in all dealings with regional and federal ministries, and all the way to Brussels for approval from the European Commission. Informal ballots and pre-notification – we are highly familiar with the European Commission’s practices and procedures.

We offer legal advice when state aid-related screening processes are instigated by the European Commission or by supervisory authorities, the European Court of Auditors or German Courts of Auditors.

In some cases, competitors cite state aid reasons as a pretext for litigation against public financing, land or company transactions, taking the matter to national courts or filing complaints with the European Commission. We represent your interests in court or before the European Commission.

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