On 11 February 2016, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against a direct grant of 21 million EUR by the State of Lower Saxony to improve the infrastructure of the Cuxhaven Seaport in 2017. The German government notified the scheme to the EC in May 2015.



  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 0 liberalising


European Commission case summary (SA.41927)

European Commission letter to Germany from 26.04.2016

Inception date: 01 Jan 2017 | Removal date: 31 Dec 2017
Still in force

Financial grant

According to Germany, the "existing infrastructure in the port is not able to meet the projected increase in demand in the coming years [...]. As such, the notified project is intended to extend this infrastructure. [...] The total investment cost of the notified project amounts to EUR 36 million. [...] The project will be financed through a direct grant by the State of Lower Saxony amounting to EUR 21 million." (para. 3, 4 and 10 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 26.04.2016)

Based on the findings of the European Commission, "After completion of the project, the sea port in Cuxhaven will increase its capacity of handling goods and the project will, therefore, at least potentially increase competition between ports in Europe. Thus, it is capable of affecting competition and trade between Member States by potentially diverting commerce away from other Member States. [...] The market study provided by the German authorities shows that the planned increase in capacity due to the notified investment project will be necessary to meet the projected increase in traffic the port. As such, it will not lead to any significant increase of the port of Cuxhaven's market share." (para. 33 and 49 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 26.04.2016)

In the GTA database, the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.