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State aid to shipbuilding (additional opinion)

State aid to shipbuilding (additional opinion)

In the framework of this opinion a hearing (European Shipbuilding Industry - State aid and more) was organized in Gdansk, Poland, on 29 April 2010.

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Summary of this opinion:

 

The European Economic and Social Committee is convinced that the Framework on State aid to shipbuilding is an instrument which should be maintained; there is a need, however, to update and extend some of its provisions. The Framework contributed to the achievement of the addressed political and economic objectives during its period of application. The continued existence of the Framework is mainly justified by sector-specific circumstances, which are outlined in the introduction to the current Framework.

The Committee wishes to emphasise that the Framework is not a short-term measure for combating the crisis but takes account of the specific circumstances of the sector and that the assistance provided for under the Framework should not reward or encourage the construction of ships that are uncompetitive or vessels that have low technical specifications.

The EESC believes that the recent news about the collapse of the OECD-sponsored negotiations on a multilateral agreement establishing normal competitive conditions in the commercial shipbuilding industry is another argument which bears witness to the unique situation of the shipbuilding industry, which requires the maintenance and revision of the Framework.

Further on in the opinion, the Committee looks in detail at a number of fundamental questions and problems which the Commission put to the stakeholders as part of the consultation process. The EESC puts forward and justifies a number of modifications which it considers should be introduced into the revised version of the Framework.