The stricter regulation of the financial sector following the economic downturn and the turnaround in energy policy are leading to a steady increase in new aspects of constitutional and administrative law. This is causing structural changes in major markets, such as banking, energy and insurance. The convergence of German and European law, as well as the fact that many of the issues are closely linked to politics, mean that legal advisors are working on an interface that is rich in contrast and often fraught with tension.
In the context of the turnaround in energy policy, the European Commission’s state aid proceedings under the Renewable Energies Act were the number one topic of conversation; a political agreement has now been announced between the German federal government and the Commission with the new regulations for environmental and energy state aid. Another major issue in the turnaround in energy policy is the establishment of a “bad bank” for nuclear reactors. E.on, RWE and EnBW, according to press reports, are fine-tuning a public trust, which is to conduct their nuclear business until the 2022 phase-out. As a comparison: bad banks in the banking sector have been wrapping up problem operations in an orderly manner for some years.
The setup of new infrastructure for the energy networks also led to more disputes between various stakeholder groups in environmental law and public procurement. The trend towards remunicipalization, especially in the water and energy sector, is also ongoing.