Law on subsidies and grants

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Advice at all stages in the lifecycle of a grant

The funding lifecycle covers several phases, ranging from identification of possible sources and the type of financing to be used through to the final audit.

Our support across the entire funding process minimises risk and boosts the efficiency of your project. Our proactive advice can help you to identify and overcome legal challenges at an early stage, thereby enabling optimal use of your funding.

Giving due consideration to the German Federal Budget Code (Bundeshaushaltsordnung, BHO), we take care of matters such as:

  • Grant decision
  • Grant procedures
  • Approval of third-party funds
  • State aid
  • Grants from the German Federal government
  • Administrative provisions

Lifecycle of a grant

Subsidy law | Project funding milestones

Sector expertise: key to successful funding and access to third-party funds

The combination of legal expertise and industry knowledge allows projects to be implemented more efficiently. Over 15 lawyers are available to provide support at seven locations across Germany. We are not only well acquainted with the legal conditions for receiving grants from sources including the German government, we can also manage your entire grant procedure. Our understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities in your sector means that we can support your funded project in the following areas, among others:

  • Energy and climate change
  • Transport, infrastructure and construction
  • Digital transformation and technology
  • Health, pharmaceutical industry and e-health
  • Security and defence
  • Utilities and waste disposal

We advise both grant recipients and grant providers

Our specialised team advises recipients around applying for and using grants, and also during the subsequent audit by the grant provider. Early involvement in the development of funding programmes is a feature of our advice for providers. 

Services for grant recipients

  • Advice around applying for funding
  • Planning, implementing and monitoring projects in line with public funding law
  • Legally compliant structuring of transactions to avoid loss of funding or subsequent claims for repayment
  • Compliance and reporting to meet funding guidelines
  • Countering requests for repayment, including representation in administrative and court proceedings

Services for grant providers

  • Design of funding programmes
  • Legal opinions on the legally sound structuring of funding programmes
  • Representation in administrative and court proceedings

State aid at European level – state aid law 

Our state aid legal advice helps companies, public institutions and official bodies to navigate the complexities of EU state aid law. We advise on applying for grants from the German government and on producing proof of the appropriate use of funding.

Our objective is to ensure that our clients comply with European regulations in order to minimise legal risks, while also benefiting fully from the opportunities provided by state subsidies.

State aid
State aid is one of the fastest-changing areas of law. Given the current economic and geopolitical situation, past crises and green transformation of the economy, the EU and its Member States along with many other governments outside the bloc have in

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The General Court of the EU annuls the Commission decision on restructuring...
On 8 May 2024, the General Court of the EU annulled the Commission decision of 26 July 2021 approving restructuring aid to German airline Condor following an annulment action lodged by Ryanair. The Commission...
Multi-billion incentive programme for climate-friendly industry launched:...
Berlin – The German government is aiming to make German industry carbon-neutral by 2045. In line with this commitment, on Tuesday, 12 March 2024 the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action launched the world’s first bidding process for a programme to fund climate action contracts. Based on carbon contracts for difference, these climate action contracts promote investment in climate-friendly production facilities that would not otherwise be economically viable at this point in time. The programme is primarily aimed at operators of emis­sion-in­tens­ive plants, such as in the steel, paper, chemicals, metal and glass industries. Climate action contracts provide an incentive to develop and build the required technologies and infrastructure in Germany now. This will not only avoid around 350 million tonnes of CO2 over the term of the funding programme up to 2045, but is also designed to kick-start the urgently needed market transformation while simultaneously setting new international standards for efficient, low-bureaucracy support. The climate action contracts are intended as both a key tool for climate change mitigation and to strengthen Germany as a country with a long history of industry and innovation. EUR 4 billion has been made available over a 15-year term for the initial bidding process that has now been opened. Companies that were successful in the preparatory phase in the summer of 2023 can apply to take part in the initial bidding process within the next four months. As Germany’s economics minister announced at today’s press conference, the second round of bidding will be conducted later in 2024, with EUR 19 billion available for this purpose. Two further rounds of bidding are scheduled for 2025.A CMS team headed by lead partner Dr Jürgen Frodermann advised the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action on all aspects of subsidy, state aid, contract and energy law with regard to the support programme. The advice related in particular to drafting a funding policy and associated climate action contracts to be concluded between the state and companies eligible for funding. The work also included support around the notification procedure to the European Commission. In view of the pioneering nature of the funding programme, the CMS team had to deal with legal issues arising in connection with the programme in both a European and a national context, while also ensuring close alignment with the defined technical and economic objectives. The support was provided through an in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary consortium headed by lead project manager Jülich, together with VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik and Deloitte. CMS Germany Dr Jürgen Frodermann, Lead Partner Dr Nico Hannemann, Senior Associate Dr Nora Zabel, Counsel Björn Hopen, Associate Nina Becker, Associate, all Contract Law Shaghayegh Smousavi, Partner, Energy / Regulation Dr Jakob Steiff, Partner Dr André Lippert, Partner Dr Sven Brockhoff, Counsel Dr Annchristin Streuber, As­so­ci­ate Con­stan­ze Schweidtmann, Associate, all Public Law / Subsidy Law Dr Michael Bauer, Partner Louisa Thomasberger, Associate, both State Aid Dr Martin Friedberg, Partner, TaxPress Con­tact presse@cms-hs. com
After EU Commission's first decision on Carbon Contracts for Difference,...
The European Commission approved the first Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfD) scheme under the new Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy 2022 (CEEAG).Fol­low­ing the...
European Commission authorises EUR 550 million Italian hydrogen aid scheme
On 30 January 2024, the European Commission authorised an Italian hydrogen aid scheme with a budget of EUR 550 million under the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework.The Green Deal industrial planThe...
State aid: The European Commission approves an Italian aid scheme for the...
On 15 January 2024, the European Commission approved a EUR 120 mil­lion Italian aid scheme for all airlines establishing new connections between one of the three airports in Calabria, namely Tito Minniti...
State aid: Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework extended
The European Commission has adjusted the timetable for phasing out the provisions of the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework after sending Member States this proposal for partial adjustment...
State aid: The Court of Justice of the EU annuls the judgment of the General...
The European Commission's decision of 31 July 2017  On 7 April 2017, Germany notified the Commission of its plan to grant operating aid to Frankfurt-Hahn airport to cover the deficit of its operator...
In-depth investigation by the European Commission into Danish and Swedish...
In August 2020, Denmark and Sweden notified the European Commission of their plans to provide support in the form of recapitalisation measures for the airline SAS.As a result of pandemic-related travel...
Revised guidance on the application of EU State aid rules in the UK post-Brexit
On 9 June 2023, the European Commission (“EC”) adopted a revised Notice on the application of the EU State aid rules to the UK following the end of the Brexit transition period.  On the same day...
State aid: following appeals by Ryanair, the General Court of the EU annuls...
On 11 May 2023, the General Court of the EU cancelled two European Commission decisions authorizing State aid in the form of capital injections for the airlines SAS and Deutsche Lufthansa, in particular...
European Commission's public consultation on the extension of operating...
The European Commission has recently submitted for public consultation its draft communication extending the transitional period for operating aid that can be granted to regional airports under the 2014...
State aid: Italian EUR 400 million loan for Alitalia qualified by the European...
On 27 March 2023, the European Commission concluded that an Italian loan of EUR 400 million granted in 2019 in favour of Alitalia constituted illegal and incompatible aid that has to be reimbursed. Alitalia...