Windt Le Grand Leeuwenburgh Advocaten

Access to justice in State aid matters in EU Member States - Where do NGO's stand?

This week, ClientEarth published the study called ‘Access to justice in State aid matters in EU Member States – Where do NGOs stand?’ (“Study”). The Study contributes to the debate on the access to justice for NGOs and the public in State aid matters by assessing the possibilities to bring State aid cases before national courts in nine EU Member States, including the Netherlands. Our colleagues Gerard van der Wal, Doortje Ninck Blok and Joep Rieff prepared the country report for the Netherlands.

Based on the country reports, the Study finds that in eight out of the nine Member States, there is no clear and consistent jurisprudence that gives standing to parties whose competitive position is not affected by the grant of illegal aid. The country reports show that it is unlikely that an NGO would be admissible to challenge an aid measure before national courts based on existing standing rules.

Furthermore, the Study reveals that in eight of the nine researched Member States there are no instances of NGOs bringing an action against a State aid measure. The only instances of NGOs challenging the grant of aid before a national court were found in the Netherlands. However, a recent decision from the Supreme Court in civil proceedings (case Stichting Karmedia)[1] severely tightens the admissibility requirements, restricting the chances for an NGO to rely on the standstill provision (article 108(3) TFEU).

We invite you to read the whole Study for the full analysis and the results of the nine country reports. The publication of the Study can be downloaded from the website of ClientEarth

  1. Supreme Court 11 December 2020, ECLI:NL:HR:2020:2007 (ECLI:NL:HR:2020:2007, Hoge Raad, 19/04639 (

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Date: 2 June 2023

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