Public consultation opened on state aid rules for the maritime sector

The European Commission has launched a public consultation in order to get stakeholders' views on the application of the 2004 EU Guidelines on state aid to maritime transport. In light of the comments received, the Commission will decide afterwards whether the Guidelines need to be revised. Contributions can be made until 14 May 2012.

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the application of the 2004 EU Guidelines on state aid to maritime transport. The consultation is addressed to the stakeholders and submissions can be made until 14 May 2012. According to the Commission, the purpose of the present consultation is to invite Member States and stakeholders to provide feedback and data about the effect that the Maritime Guidelines have had on the EU maritime industry or the evolution of business models. The Commission is also interested in information about possible shortcomings of the Guidelines that could be addressed in the future. In 2008, the Commission published the Guidelines on the application of Article 81 of the EC Treaty to maritime transport services.

The submissions received will be analysed by the Commission before deciding to what extent current rules require a modification and, if appropriate, come forward with a proposal for revised Maritime Guidelines. The Guidelines have no expiry date, but the Commission has a duty to regularly examine the application of its Guidelines.

The Commission adopted in 1989 the first Guidelines on state aid to maritime transport in order to promote both ship registration under European flags and employment of European seafarers. These Guidelines set out common criteria to assess the compatibility of public support measures with the internal market and to limit possible distortions of competition. The Guidelines were subsequently amended in 1997 and 2004.