Administrative Law / Droit administratif
The Netherlands / Pays-Bas
Subsidies, provided under Dutch law, can be affected by EU law in two cases. In the first place, a Dutch subsidy can produce a form of EU-prohibited State aid. Secondly, a Dutch subsidy can be financed with the help of EU funds, so that, apart from national law, also the European Union sets out rules about the granting of these subsidies. A notorious problem in this field is that Dutch national law sometimes does not provide for an adequate legal basis for withdrawing and recovering these subsidies in the case of irregularities, although this is compulsory under EU law. This problem has been presented several times to the Dutch administrative courts and - by way of prejudicial questions - to the EU Court of Justice, with more or less success. The real solution to this problem, however, should not be provided for by the judicial branches, but by the Legislative. It must be welcomed, therefore, that in 2008 a bill has been sent to the Dutch Parliament, containing additional rules on the recovery of State aid. Regrettably, this bill does not provide for statutory rules concerning the withdrawal and recovery of subsidies which are in breach of EU-financing rules as well.