Letter from Viscount Goschen, Minister for Aviation
and Shipping, Department of Transport, to Lord Geddes, Chairman
of Sub-Committee B
In his letter of 24 October informing me of your Sub-Committee's
clearance of the Commission's Communication "Towards a New
Maritime Strategy", Document No. 6813/96, the Clerk asked
me to let your predecessor as Chairman know in due course the
outcome of discussions at the Transport Council on 12- 13 December.
The Council agreed a Resolution (the official text of which
is still awaited) which asserts the importance of a Community
maritime strategy and, among other things, urges the Commission
to adopt revised guidelines on state aids in the maritime sector.
At the UK's insistence, the Resolution does not contain an endorsement
of employment-related operating subsidies or restrictive manning
practices. References to these were covered in separate Presidency
So far as the state aids issue is concerned, the next step
is for the Commission to bring forward revised draft guidelines,
which they undertook to discuss with member states. The Commission
acknowledged that any state aids could only be allowed if in
accordance with the provisions of the Treaty and in particular
if they did not distort or threaten to distort competition.
10 January 1997