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Penalty for the SNCM an inconsistent decision, says EESC President Henri Malosse

Mr Malosse has called for the president of the European Commission, José  Manuel Barroso, to ensure greater consistency among European policies, following the announcement that a penalty will be imposed on the Société Nationale Maritime Corse-Méditerranée (SNCM). He pointed out that a decision like this will affect not only a business, but also more than 1 400 direct employees and hundreds of indirect jobs and would further widen the gulf with the European public.

Given that the European Union has supported Corsica's development for many years and has helped it to build competitive business sectors*, ordering the repayment of public subsidies received to the tune of EUR 220 million would hit Corsican SMEs hard, at a time when they are already facing serious problems.

In addition to the economic aspect, the EESC president also questioned the European Commission president, whom he met today, on the inconsistency of some of the stances adopted by the Commission. He felt that they reveal the fundamental tensions between the different directorates.

Where regional policy is concerned, the Commission supports the policy of promoting tourism in Corsica, formerly an Objective 1 region, and authorises subsidies for air and maritime transport to ensure links with the mainland. Under competition policy, however, the Commission is now penalising France for something that it authorises itself, i.e. subsidising the transport of tourists by boat to the "Beautiful Island", potentially creating a new monopoly.

As a representative of civil society, I call for greater consistency among European policies, and this is the point I made to Mr Barroso today.
Henri Malosse, President of the EESC.

It is also the first time the two European presidents meet since the beginning of the term of Henri Malosse. This exchange was the occasion of a new appointment for June, during which the Commission will be presented the issues, on which civil society expects priority actions from the European Union.