EU Law and practice

The law emanating from the European Union ("EU") has gained an increasingly important place in today's business activity within the EU and internationally. It is now common ground that Brussels regulates the common market, has direct powers in competition law and other matters and sanctions decisively infringements of EC law by Member States. It also contributes financially to building infrastructure, assisting businesses and research and in promoting a multitude of other activities, including aid to developing countries and to the accession Member States.

Member States are obliged to both respect EU law in its entirety as well as to ensure that it is applied fully by their authorities and courts. This is not always an easy process and frequently results in disputes or in a poor application of EU law at national level, generating an exposure to sanctions by Brussels. It is, therefore, critical that both businesses and regulators are alert in safeguarding full compliance with EU law provisions, notably in the areas of free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, competition, public procurement, social rights and harmonised technical standards. Clients knowing their rights and obligations under EU law, certainly gain an advantage over competition and render their business practice protected from infringement allegations bearing heavy consequences.

For example, participating in a price-fixing cartel may result in fines of up to 10% of a corporation's turnover and other significant commercial restrictions. In the area of public procurement, tender procedures may be annulled; and illegal State aid granted may be recovered from the beneficiary with interest. To make things worse, national authorities have no discretion over applying or not EU law, as the latter is a superseding legal order by reference to national law.

In particular, the unprecedented enlargement of the EU in 2004 to 25 Member States, has created the need for restructuring several areas of EU law, notably in the field of competition and in the way the EC institutions function.

Knowing your rights and obligations under EU law will also result in more successful national remedies before courts and other contentious bodies. It may also help you in lobbying effectively the European institutions and the Greek Government in the context of their legislative activity.

Our EU law specialist team of lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the mechanics of EU law and the remedies available. Some of our lawyers have spent many years practicing EU law in Brussels, both within the European institutions and with major law firms. Our experience includes the following: