Brussels, 16 November 2004
The European Commission authorises Belgian aid scheme extension until 2010 to boost the use of inland waterways
The Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the Flemish authorities’ plan to extend until 2010 the aid scheme providing financial support for the construction of loading and unloading facilities along the Flemish inland waterways in Belgium. The aid scheme, which had initially been approved by the Commission in 2001, aims at making inland waterways more accessible and developing their use for freight transport.
The Flemish Region in Belgium will extend the aid scheme which the Commission had authorised in its decision of 11 December 2001. The scheme will provide financial support for the construction of loading and unloading facilities along Flemish inland waterways through Public-Private-Partnerships. The public authority will contribute to the costs related to the infrastructure whereas the private partner will make all other necessary investments and develop new or additional transport tonnage on inland waterways. In no case the public support will be more than 50 % of the overall construction costs.
The Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the extension of this scheme as it will continue under the same conditions approved in 2001 with the exceptions for the following minor adjustments:
The extension of the scheme is compatible with competition rules and the smooth functioning of the internal market. Inland waterway transport terminals require considerable investments in infrastructure (quays, road connections, dredging etc.). Public co-financing will encourage investment in this segment of the transport market. Moreover, the proposed measures are in line with the objectives of the European Union’s common transport policy which aims at fighting congestion and promoting environmentally friendly modes of transport with unused capacity, such as inland waterways. The Flemish aid scheme should contribute to integrate inland waterways into an intermodal transport chain and is thus in the EU interest.