EU authorizes Flemish Financial Support

Wednesday, December 12, 2001
The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the Flemish authorities' plan to provide financial support for the construction of loading and unloading facilities along the Flemish inland waterways in Belgium The Flemish Region in Belgium will put into effect a five year aid scheme aiming at making inland waterways more accessible and developing their use for freight transport. The scheme will provide financial support for the construction of loading and unloading facilities along Flemish inland waterways through Public-Private-Partnerships. The public authority will contribute to the costs related to the infrastructure whereas the private partner will make all other necessary investments and develop new or additional transport tonnage on inland waterways. In no case the public support will be more than 50 percent of the overall construction costs. About 25 projects should receive public grants yearly. The Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the scheme. The envisaged measures are compatible with competition rules and the smooth functioning of the internal market. Inland waterway transport terminals require considerable investments in infrastructure (quays, road connections, dredging etc.). Public co-financing will encourage investment in this segment of the transport market. Moreover, the proposed measures are in line with the objectives of the European Union's common transport policy, which aims at fighting congestion and promoting environmentally friendly modes of transport with unused capacity, such as inland waterways. The Flemish aid scheme should contribute to integrate inland waterways into an intermodal transport chain and is thus in the Community's interest.

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