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Brussels, 18 December 2009
Commission endorses the public financing of part of the development project for the Port of Piraeus in Greece
The European Commission has today decided that public financing for the construction of pier I at the container terminal section of the Port of Piraeus in Greece is compatible with state aid rules. However, this decision does not cover the public financing of the acquisition of loading and unloading equipment in the Container Terminal section of the Port of Piraeus, which requires further examination and will be dealt with in a separate Commission decision to be announced at a later stage.
The Commission decided on 13 July 2009 1 to initiate an in-depth assessment of the public financing of the construction of a jetty in Pier I and the acquisition of loading and unloading equipment in the Container Terminal section of the Port of Piraeus.
In its decision of July 2009, the Commission acknowledged that the construction of the jetty in Pier I may require substantial capital investment and may not be undertaken on a purely commercial basis. Accordingly, the Commission took the preliminary view that there may be a need for state intervention in order to ensure its construction. By contrast, the Commission expressed doubts whether the public financing of the equipment elements in question was necessary and whether the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) would not be capable of financing them with its own resources.
During the investigation procedure it became clear that the construction of the jetty is part of a larger project related to the construction and further extension of Pier I at the Container Terminal, which is to be commercially exploited by PPA. The public financing of €35 million will thus be less than half of the overall costs of the project (€71 million). Furthermore, this project does not involve any equipment acquisition. This allowed the Commission to separate its assessment of the public financing of the construction of the pier from the acquisition of equipment elements. Therefore, in today's decision, the Commission did not deal with the public financing of the acquisition of loading and unloading equipment in the Container Terminal section of the Port of Piraeus. This requires further examination and is to be dealt with in a separate Commission decision.
As regards the construction of Pier I, the Commission confirmed that the state intervention in this project is indeed fully in line with the EU objective of developing European ports and is proportional to the objective, since the state will cover less than half of the investment costs. Consequently, it concluded that this public financing is compatible with the common market pursuant to Article 107(3)(c) of the TFEU.
OJ C 245, 13.10.2009, p. 21.