State aid

Serbia took an obligation to implement the EU State aid rules on its soil under international treaties Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the Energy Community Treaty (ECT) and the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).

Serbian State Aid Act prohibits state aid, demands prior-notification of aid measures before granting and sets criteria for legal assessment of their compatibility. The Commission for the State Aid Control (CSAC) has power to implement ex ante and ex post controls of aid measures, suspend and order recovery of the aid from undertakings. In addition, individual aid measures may be inquired by the European Commission in accordance with the SAA, as well as by authorities established by the ECT and ECAA.

As a result, subsidies, tax incentives, state guaranties, loans by state owned banks, restructuring and privatization of a state owned company, PPPs and any business transactions involving public element, are under the regulatory risk if a state aid element can be established.

Market share and profitability of a business might, as well, be affected by provision of illegal financial advantages to a rival company through public resources.

We have a first-hand experience in structuring complex business transactions and expertise in the state aid, competition, tax and corporate legal areas. Our lawyers have experience in advising and training clients under scrutiny of the European Commission and Energy Community institutions. We help our clients to reduce investment costs by clearing state aid before the CSAC. Stojković Attorneys’ as well advised and represented clients before the CSAC to help halting illegal provision of financial advantages to their competitors.

Stojković Attorneys’ range of legal services include:

  • General counselling and audits on potential state aid elements and antitrust concerns of proposed investments, divestments, Public Private transactions and other commercial transactions involving public element;
  • Advising and safeguarding compatibility of a proposed subsidy and/or other state aid instruments with Serbian and applicable EU rules, including provision of legal oversight of an entire process of granting of the aid from application to the aid-granting authority to the pre-granting notification of the measure to the CSAC;
  • Clearing proposed state aid measures under the notification procedure before the CSAC;
  • Substantive defence on non-existence of a state aid element in a transaction or on the compatibility the state aid awards with applicable local and EU rules;
  • Protection of client’s commercial interests affected by an unlawful and incompatible state aid;
  • State aid compliance training.