ANNOUNCEMENT 31 Aug 2012In August 2012, the government of France announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to France - Brussels, 20.12.2011 C(2011)9397 final 'french'. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_33434 >
On 21 July 2011, the French authorities notified the European Commission their intention to grant direct subsidies in favour of the construction of a new marshalling yard in the industrial zone of the harbour of Le Havre in order to facilitate containers transit and thus enhance its competitiveness.
The project is estimate to cost in total 94.9 million euros and will principally funded trough state subsidies (70.4 million euros) provided by the French governement. The construction will begin by the end of August 2012 for an undefined duration.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107 par.1 TFEU and gave the following assessment:
State aid which is aimed to free a company from the costs that should normally have been supported by day-to-day activities distort, in principle, competition. It has been judged that the simple fact that the aid strengthens the position of a company in comparison with other competitors allows to consider that trade has been affected. In our case, the construction sector and harbour terminals exploitation sector are open to competition. Moreover, access to the road, water and rail transportation markets are also liberalized. It has for consequence that the notified public funding is likely to distort competition and affects trade between member states.
(par. 43 of the letter from the EC to France - Brussels, 20.12.2011 C(2011)9397 final 'french')
The EC decided not to raise objections.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.