State aid: Commission clears Italian public support for Laziomar ferry service; closes investigation concerning support to Saremar
Daily News 30 / 09 / 2021
Source: European Commission Spokesperson's Service
The European Commission has concluded that the public service compensation granted since 2011 to Laziomar S.p.A. (‘Laziomar’) for the operation of ferry services in Italy is in line with EU State aid rules. The same applies to the compensation granted to Laziomar after it has been acquired by Compagnia Laziale di Navigazione S.r.l. (‘CLN’).
The Commission also closed its in-depth investigation into certain measures in favour of Sardegna Regionale Maritima S.p.A. (‘Saremar’), which has been in liquidation since 2016. Following a series of complaints, the Commission launched in October 2011 an in-depth investigation into several public support measures in favour of companies of the former Tirrenia Group and their respective acquirers.
On the basis of its in-depth assessment, the Commission concluded that certain measures in favour of Laziomar and its acquirer CLN are in line with EU State aid rules. In a separate decision, the Commission has also decided to close its investigation into certain measures in favour of Saremar. In 2014, following an in-depth investigation, the Commission found that certain support measures granted by Sardinia to Saremar in 2011 and 2012 constituted incompatible State aid. In its 2014 decision, the Commission had not reached a conclusion on all measures under investigation.
However, since Saremar has ceased all operations, its assets have been sold, and it will be erased from the company register once the liquidation procedure has been finalised, the Commission considers that the investigation into these measures has become without object and has therefore decided to close it. By closing the procedure, the Commission also acts proportionately, saving time and resources – including those of the Sardinia Region – and ensuring legal certainty to all stakeholders involved.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: - As the two decisions concerning the former Tirrenia Group that we adopted earlier this year, today’s decisions will contribute to the economic and social development of islands, while providing legal certainty to operators. We need to ensure that small islands, such as those of the Lazio Region, and their residents are connected to the mainland through regular and reliable maritime transport services throughout the year.
A press release is available online.