State aid can be a powerful tool to incentivise measures that protect the environment and address climate change. But State aid also has the potential to support projects that undermine the EU’s long-term climate and environmental targets. In recent years citizens and civil society have been central to ensuring climate targets are upheld by challenging decisions through the courts. This absence of similar accountability mechanisms at EU level, where State aid decisions that breach climate and environmental law can be challenged, poses a risk for EU decision makers. It is contrary to international law, as has been confirmed by the international compliance body of a Convention binding the Union.

This seminar will focus on a recently published report by Alistair McGlone: ‘EU state aid decisions and access to justice and the implications of the findings of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in case C128, and the options for response by the EU.’ We will discuss the question: How should the EU best comply with its international obligations and meet international standards for environmental democracy, accountability and good governance?

This event will take place in a hybrid format:

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  • Alistair McGlone, international environmental law consultant, a former member of the Aarhus Convention’s Compliance Committee and head of the UK delegation during the negotiation of the Convention.


  • Jacques Derenne, partner and head of EU Competition & Regulatory at Sheppard Mullin and professor at the University of Liège
  • Summer Kern, J.D. Law and Sustainability, NGO Observer to the Bureau of the Aarhus Convention, Justice and Environment


  • Sebastian Oberthür, Director of the Centre for Environment, Economy and Energy, Brussels School of Governance – Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Professor of Environmental Policy and Law at the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law at the University of Eastern Finland


EU State Aid Decisions and Access to Justice

Brussels School of Governance, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels


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