State aid: EU Commission approves Italian tax measures for maritime transport

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules the prolongation until end 2023 of various Italian support measures for maritime transport under Italy’s “International Registry” scheme.

The scheme encourages shipping companies to register their ships in Europe and so ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards.

Italy has also committed to a number of changes to its scheme to avoid undue competition distortion as well as to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different European Economic Area (EEA) States.

Under the “International Registry” scheme, shipping companies are granted a corporate tax reduction and other benefits. The Italian measure, as amended and approved today, requires that if a shipping company wants to benefit from the “International Registry” regime, at least a large part of its fleet flies the flag of an EU or EEA State.

In this respect, the Italian authorities have committed to extend the benefits of the scheme to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag. The Commission assessed the amended measures under EU State aid rules, in particular its Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport. It concluded that, in light of commitments to which Italy will have to comply within seven months from the adoption of the Commission decision, the Italian scheme is in line with EU State aid rules.

In particular, the scheme will 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.

On this basis, the Commission approved the Italian scheme and its prolongation until 2023 under EU State aid rules.

Arianna Podesta –

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