European Commission Approves Maritime State Aid to Five Countries

Mike Schuler
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December 16, 2019

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The European Commission has approved state aid for five countries to encourage ship registration and promote  Europe’s maritime competitiveness.

The five countries – Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Poland, and Sweden – were each granted five seperate measures, or “schemes”, aimed at contributing to the global competitiveness of the sector.

Specifically, the schemes concern: the introduction of a tonnage tax and seafarer scheme in Estonia; the prolongation of a tonnage tax and seafarer scheme in Cyprus; the introduction of a new seafarer scheme in Poland; the prolongation and extension of a seafarer scheme in Denmark; and the prolongation of a seafarer scheme in Sweden.

“As regards the tonnage tax schemes in Estonia and Cyprus, the Commission found that the schemes comply with the rules limiting tonnage taxation to eligible activities and vessels,” the EC said in a statement. “Furthermore, as regards taxation of dividends of shareholders, the Commission found that both the Estonian and the Cypriot tonnage tax schemes ensure that shareholders in shipping companies are treated in the same way as shareholders in any other sector.”

“As regards the seafarer schemes in Estonia, Cyprus, Poland, Denmark and Sweden, the Commission found that all five Member States have agreed to apply the benefits of their respective scheme to all vessels flying the flag of any EU or EEA Member State,” the EC added.

The measures were assessed and approved under the EC’s 2004 Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport, as they were determined “to contribute to the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport sector and encourage ship registration in Europe, while at the same time preserving Europe’s high social, environmental and safety standards and ensuring a level playing field,” the EC said.

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