Brussels, 2 nd June 2009
State aid: Competition Commissioner Kroes meets Polish Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad to review progress at Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards
European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes today met Polish Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad in Brussels to review progress at the Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards, under state aid investigation by the Commission since 2005 (see ).
Commissioner Kroes today explained that the restructuring plan for Gdansk Shipyard has improved significantly. Commissioner Kroes is confident the new restructuring plan will restore long term viability to Gdansk shipyard with minimal aid, a sufficient contribution from the private investor and the market and limited distortions of competition.
Commissioner Kroes indicated that, pending clarification of technical issues, she could soon be in a position to propose to her Commission colleagues the adoption of a positive decision for the Gdansk shipyard. She expressed her hope that a positive decision on Gdansk shipyard could be adopted by the Commission before the summer break.
A Commission decision of 6 November 2008 required the recovery of aid paid to Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards, but outlined the way to ensure a viable commercial future and sustainable jobs for the economic activity in Gdynia and Szczecin (see ) .Sales of the assets of the Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards in several bundles have now taken place.
The buyers of the assets are able to continue an economic activity at the shipyards' sites without having to repay the very large quantities of state aid received by the yards over the years. Buyers have been found for most of the assets.
Commission Kroes indicated that the Commission is still assessing the way in which the sale process was implemented and is awaiting financial reports from the Polish side, and that due to the complications of these processes, she intends to extend the deadline for completion of the sales process until 30 June to allow all steps required by the Commission decision to be completed.