Select Committee on European Communities Twelfth Report


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 conclusions.

  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

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