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Brussels, 13 January 2009

Commission authorises Denmark to extend the scope of certain types of aid to include maritime cable-laying and dredging activities.

This final decision by the Commission is in response to a request from Denmark to bring dredging and cable-laying companies into the scope of an aid scheme which has until now been reserved for seagoing ships registered in the Danish International Shipping register (DIS). This scheme exempts shipowners from having to pay income tax and social security contributions for the seafarers they employ.

Having launched the procedure allowing Denmark and all interested parties to submit comments, the Commission concluded that the guidelines on State aid to maritime transport[1] were applicable mutatis mutandis to cable-laying activities. This decision takes into account the fact that maritime cable-laying and maritime transport are in a similar economic situation.

With regard to dredging, the Commission finally concluded that the way in which the Danish authorities treat certain activities carried out by dredgers as maritime transport was acceptable.

Accordingly, it decided to close the investigation launched on 10 July 2007 into the extension of the aid scheme to maritime cable-laying and dredging activities (subject to a minor amendment concerning maritime dredging).

[1] Commission communication C(2004) 43 – Community guidelines on State aid to maritime transport, OJ C 13, 17.1.2004, pp. 3-12, available on:!celexplus!prod!JO_RefPub&lg=fr&serie_jo=C&an_jo=2004&pg_jo=3&nu_jo=13

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