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Access to Justice | 25 May 2023

Access to justice in State aid matters in EU Member States – Where do NGOs stand?
Access to Justice
Rule of law
State Aid

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Access to justice in State aid matters in EU Member States – Where do NGOs stand?

This study aims to contribute to the debate about access to justice for NGOs and the public in State aid matters. It assesses the possibilities to obtain access to justice for NGOs to bring State aid cases before national courts in nine EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The country reports were prepared by expert lawyers in each country.

In 2021, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) found the EU in breach of Article 9(3) the Aarhus Convention for failing to provide access to justice to NGOs against Commission’s State aid decisions breaching environmental law – and that EU law must change. Until October 2022, the Commission has been consulting stakeholders on how to align EU law with the ACCC’s recommendations. Some of the replies to the public consultation suggest that NGOs should rather seek remedies against breaches of environmental law by State aid measures or beneficiary activities before national courts.

The object of the Study was therefore to provide an overview of the access to justice rules (standing, competent courts, procedural costs) applicable and available to NGOs to challenge State aid measures or schemes in each relevant EU Member State.