Massimo Merola


  • EU law, with specific focus on state aid, litigation before EU courts, including preliminary rulings, customs law, state-owned undertakings and public procurement
  • Competition law (mergers, antitrust, abuse of dominance)
  • Representation of clients before:
    • the European Commission
    • national authorities
    • European courts
  • In- and out-of-court assistance, at national and European level, to governments, public authorities and blue-chip companies operating in sectors such as:
    • energy
    • banking
    • finance
    • insurance
    • transport
    • infrastructure
    • public services
    • telecommunications
    • aeronautics and defence
    • services
    • manufacturing
    • food and agriculture

Foreign languages: English, French


  • Managing partner of the Brussels office and supervising the EU practice
  • Member of the Energy & Infrastructures Focus Team
  • Member of the Environmental Sustainability Focus Team
  • Member of the Restructuring & Insolvency Focus Team
  • Member of the Public International Law & Economic Diplomacy Focus Team
  • Member of the Golden Power Task Force
  • Member of the Competition Litigation Task Force
  • Country Partner for Spain
  • Founding member of Pappalardo e Associati in 1992, which evolved into BonelliErede

Ranking and Awards

The Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 EMEA international legal directories list Massimo as one of the major experts in both Italy and Belgium on state aid and Competition law


“He is enthusiastically recommended as the top guy – definitely the lawyer you want on your side.”

(Chambers & Partners)


  • Lecturer on state aid and state-owned companies at the College of Europe (mandatory course for students specialising in competition law) in Bruges
  • Researcher at the Université libre of Brussels
  • Member of the Rome and Brussels Bar, admitted to practice before the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione)
  • Advanced European studies at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium
  • Law degree from La Sapienza university in Rome

Knowledge Sharing

Recovery and Resilience Facility: intervention areas, procedures and EU law aspects

The facility is basically a fund to help the European economy recover from the economic and social impact of the pandemic and to make companies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared to face the challenges and opportunities with the transition to green and digital. The European Comm …

Read more

More filings, few conditions: a glimpse into the Italian government’s 2019 FDI screening report

The Italian government recently published its annual FDI screening report for 2019. Despite the wider scope of application and the growing number of transactions subject to FDI screening, conditions were imposed in only 13 cases (approx. 16% of the total number of filings). Perhaps not so su …

Read more

How Covid-19 measures affect investment control in Italy and the EU?

This note addresses the following 3 developments in investment screening caused by Covid-19 outbreak: The Cura Italia decree suspended the timeframe for administrative procedures, including Golden Power, but lodging an urgency request could be a way to avoid the suspension; …

Read more

Golden Power: current landscape in the EU about "Foreign Direct Investment"

Foreign direct investment control mechanisms around the world vary in both substance and procedure. But what about in the EU? Even though it boasts a very open regime, concern about foreign investors, including state-owned companies, in strategic businesses is growing: their role in cross …

Read more

Foreign investment control in Italy: new timeframe and rules

In Italy, the government’s powers to screen investments in strategic sectors take the evocative name of “Golden Power”. Last Wednesday (13 November), the Italian parliament approved the conversion into law of Law Decree 105/2019, which introduces significant changes to Italy’s Golden Po …

Read more

The ECN+ DIRECTIVE: Main features and potential impact on Italy’s legal system

On 4 December 2018, the Council of the European Union approved the ECN + Directive, with the aim of empowering the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market: the ECN+ Directive want t …

Read more

OECD Discussion Draft on Financial Transactions - BonelliErede comments

In the context of the public consultation launched by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on 3 July 2018 on the transfer pricing aspects of financial transactions, BonelliErede and Valdani Vicari & Associati provided to the Tax Treaties, Transfer Pricing and Fi …

Read more

Another first in Italy: BonelliErede launches its Competition Litigation Task Force - 10 February 2021

BonelliErede has drawn on its strengths in civil litigation and competition law, its expertise in competition-related damages actions, and its proven track record to set up a new task force dedicated to competition litigation – the first of its kind in Italy. The Competition Litigation Task F …

Read more

BonelliErede launches the first task force dedicated to Golden Powers legislation - 17 October 2019

BonelliErede has launched a new task force dedicated to all matters relating to Italy’s Golden Powers legislation to respond to investors’ needs created by this complex and highly topical piece of legislation on investments in strategic sectors. The legislation gives government bodies the p …

Read more