BPA comments on the GBER guidelines on state aids

Commenting on today’s news that the European Commission had formally adopted the new General Block Exemption Regulations (GBER) on state aids, the British Ports Association Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne warned against the distortion of competitive port markets with major public subsidies.

The European Commission has now formally adopted the General Block Exemption Regulations which includes guidelines for ports.

This provides rules on what is interpreted as acceptable state aid by DG Competition in Brussels and introduces new exemptions from the obligation to notify the Commission for approval before schemes are implemented.

Mr Ballantyne said:-

“While we fully appreciate the diverse nature of the European ports industry, we are disappointed that the revised GBER does not do more to limit potential market distortion. 

The GBER now effectively means that subsided dredging activity can be exempted from state aid restrictions. 

A number of British ports have voiced concerns about subsidies for both capital projects and maintenance dredging at European ports, potentially disadvantaging the UK’s private sector ports industry.”