Bird & Bird secures important victory against the EU Commission, Danish Government and Danish transporter

10 April 2013

Jose Rivas

The Bird & Bird Competition team in Brussels has successfully appealed a decision made by the EU Commission in 2010 regarding illegal State aid to Danish train company DSB.

Bird & Bird client, Jørgen Andersen, operates a bus line Grahundbus between Copenhagen and the Swedish town of Ystad, where passengers embark on the ferry to the island of Bornholm (Denmark). Since 2002, Andersen has faced competition from DSB, which runs a corresponding train line funded with public subsidies. Mr. Andersen first complained about this illegal State aid to the Commission in 2003.

Following further complaints, the case was escalated and the EU Commission decided to investigate any further public service contracts which DSB might be benefitting from. In 2010, the Commission found that there was indeed illegal State aid, but that it was compatible on the condition that Denmark made alterations to the compensation system.

The Bird & Bird Competition team successfully appealed this decision to the General Court, despite the intervention of the Danish Government and train operator DSB.

José Rivas, Head of International EU and Competition Group, Bird & Bird said: "This case further demonstrates our unrivalled expertise in State aid law, as well as our ability to assist businesses, big and small, to achieve their commercial objectives. While the judgment may be appealed again, it is an important victory for both our client and the transport association which was backing him."

The judgement is available here.