Landwell's Belgian firm Bogaert & Vandemeule-broeke successfully defended the Belgian government in the recent ruling on golden shares
The court ruled that, unlike Belgian golden shares, those used in France and Portugal are illegal. Landwell now hopes that the Belgian model will be adopted across the EU, providing the firm with more opportunities to advise European governments. Landwell is already in discussions with both French and German governments, who will need to revise the way they structure their golden shares. Landwell frequently advises the Belgian government on EU law issues. The team on the golden shares project was co-led by Marc Picat and Francois de Montpellier. Picat said the outcome was a surprise, firstly because the French and Belgian shares were treated so differently, and secondly because the final judgment differed so mark-edly from the advocate-general's opinion released last year. The court's ruling follows a lengthy campaign by the European Commission to have golden shares declared illegal under EU law because they distort competition and the single market. The court declared that any golden shares that allow governments to veto ownership or restrict a privatised company's activities are prima facie a breach of EU law.