State aid: EU Commission endorses extension of Belgian seafarer scheme for maritime transport

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules the extension to new types of vessels of a scheme supporting the maritime transport sector in Belgium.

Under the existing scheme, seafarers employed on self-propelled vessels registered in a Member State of the European Economic Area can benefit from a reduction of social security contributions.

Besides vessels transporting goods and passengers, and besides towage and dredging vessels, the amended scheme will now also be applicable to, for example, research vessels, pipe and cable laying vessels, as well as vessels for raising, repairing and dismantling windmills and other off-shore installations.

This is in line with the Commission’s interpretation of the Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport. The Commission concluded that the extension, which will expire together with the already existing scheme on 31 December 2022, is in line with these Guidelines because it will contribute to the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport sector, while boosting employment and ensuring a level playing field.

More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.56475.

Arianna Podesta –