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First EU Commission ex officio FSR investigation

  • 22/04/2024
  • News

On 9 April 2024, the Commission announced the launch of the Commission’s first ex officio investigation (ie an investigation on its own initiative) under the EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR). The FSR entered into force last year and is intended to regulate subsidies granted by non-EU countries to ensure that they do not distort competition in the EU internal market.

The new investigation is assessing whether Chinese suppliers of wind turbines benefitted from potentially distortive financial subsidies in relation to wind park projects in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria. It follows on from an anti-subsidy investigation opened by the Commission under the trade defence rules in October 2023 into imports of battery electric vehicles from China. The Commission’s first in-depth investigation using its FSR powers was launched in February this year in relation to a Chinese bidder in a Bulgarian public tender for electric “push-pull” trains (culminating in the bidder withdrawing from the tender procedure).  Two further in-depth investigations under the FSR were opened at the beginning of April into two Chinese bidders in a Romanian public tender for solar panels.

Our alert answers some key questions likely to be raised in the context of the new ex officio investigation. Read it below.

For more information on the obligations imposed by the FSR, see our previous alert here.

VBB partners Andreas Reindl and Isabelle Van Damme authored the first practitioner handbook on the scope, application and enforcement of the FSR in January 2024, and regularly advise clients on related risk assessment and compliance issues. Please contact us if you have questions on the potential impact of the FSR on your participation in transactions or public tenders in the EU


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