The goals and commitments one agrees to when winning an EU or domestic tender are rigorously monitored. It is not enough to win a grant or subsidy, the commitments you make in your bid must also be complied with. In the past seven years nearly all significant companies used EU loans or grants to finance investments. However, when it comes to implementation and maintenance, investors have to deal with significant administrative and other tasks as written into the grant agreement. Being aware of and complying with them is not easy. Failure to comply has triggered hundreds of violations proceedings a year, in which the grant money has to be returned. Violations can include non-compliance with an existing rule during regular operations, some business event that violates a rule or some transaction that infringes on the EU's financial interests.
The primary causes of violations procedures are deficiencies in the public procurement procedures, but it also happens rather often that the applicant fails to implement its communication plan as originally envisaged, or a there is a technical change in the project not reported in advance, or the project is not implemented, in part or full, as was envisaged in the original project plan. Violations are spotted in the progress reports and during on-site checks. Where a violations proceeding is initiated against the winner of an EU grant, it is likely that that the full amount of the grant will not be paid.
Our experts have represented clients in several violations cases with great success. We have found that it is worth consulting or asking for advice before making any statement prior to the violations procedure, since, in the event of an appropriately drafted and justified reply, the intermediate bodies accept the position of the bidder and a lengthy and costly procedure can be averted.
Our lead lawyers have also had outstanding results in ongoing infringement proceedings, potential conciliation and in-court enforcements.