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Brussels, 21st April 2005

State aid: Commission endorses €1 million of aid for renovation of national heritage site of Hala Ludowa in Wrocław, Poland

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, the grant of aid by the City of Wrocław to Wrocławskie Przedsiębiorstwo Hala Ludowa Sp. z o.o., the company entrusted with the management of the cultural heritage and exhibition building Hala Ludowa in Wrocław. The subsidy, amounting to around € 0.95 million (PLN 3.9 million), will be used to fund essential renovation, conservation and construction works necessary for the preservation of the cultural and historic value of the building. The works, co-financed by the beneficiary, are due to be finished by 2006.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented “EU rules on state subsidies allow aid for projects to promote and preserve Europe’s culture and heritage”.

Hala Ludowa is a monument listed in the Register of Historical Monuments as an outstanding work of contemporary architecture. It has applied to UNESCO to become a World Cultural and Nature Heritage building. The building, designed by Max Berg, is notable for its novel structure (the largest dome constructed since the contemporary Pantheon) and the materials used (reinforced concrete). Hala Ludowa is a valuable facility, which is an integral part of the panorama of Wrocław.

The beneficiary of the aid can exploit the facilities commercially for exhibitions and fairs and may thus receive some economic advantage. However, Hala Ludowa is a historic monument classified as a significant object of national cultural and historical heritage, and the financing is limited to the historic and most damaged elements of the building, which most urgently require renovation. The Commission has therefore endorsed the aid on the basis of EC Treaty rules that allow “aid to promote culture and heritage preservation (Article 87 (3) (d)).

The Commission previously applied this heritage preservation derogation in 2003, when it endorsed aid for three national heritage schemes in the United Kingdom and for an aircraft museum in the Netherlands (Aviodrome).

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