State aid SA.28876 - European Commission - Europa EU

Jul 11, 2012 - favourable provisions inserted in the concession agreement. 1. Registered .... stevedoring services elsewhere in the Port of Piraeus, except for Pier I. 9 ...... managed to obtain to maximise its benefit in the case of imposition of.
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EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Brussels, 11.7.2012 C(2012) 4217 final

PUBLIC VERSION WORKING LANGUAGE This document is made available for information purposes only.

Subject:

State aid SA.28876 (2012/C) (ex 2011/N) (ex CP 202/2009) – Greece Container Terminal Port of Piraeus & Cosco Pacific Limited

Sir,

The Commission wishes to inform Greece that, having examined the information supplied by your authorities on the aid/measure referred to above, it has decided to initiate the procedure laid down in Article 108(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 1.

PROCEDURE

(1)

By letter of 30 April 20091, the Prefect of Piraeus lodged a complaint with the Commission alleging that the Greek State granted unlawful State aid to the new concession holder of a part of the Port of Piraeus, the Piraeus Container Terminal S.A. ("PCT"), a subsidiary of special purpose of COSCO Pacific Limited ("COSCO"). The alleged aid was granted in the form of tax exemptions and favourable provisions inserted in the concession agreement after the tender.

(2)

On 7 May 2009 the Federation of Greek Port workers sent a letter 2 informing the Commission on the alleged tax advantages that the Greek State granted to PCT. By letter of 31 August 2009, the Federation of Greek Port workers confirmed that its' initial letter should be treated as a complaint and alleged that aid was granted in the form of tax advantages but also in the form of favourable provisions inserted in the concession agreement.

1 2

Registered by the Commission on 6 May 2009. Registered by the Commission on 13 May 2009.

(3)

By letter of 23 September 20093, the International Dockworkers Council filed a complaint with a detailed description of the measures that allegedly constitute State aid.

(4)

By letter of 14 October 2009 the Commission requested information from Greece on the alleged State aid measures. By letter of 12 November 2009 the Greek authorities asked for a delay extension on which the Commission agreed in its letter of 18 November 2009. The Commission sent a reminder concerning this request on 3 February 2010 and on 23 February 2010 the Greek authorities responded to this request for information.

(5)

On 5 May 2010 the Commission services met the representatives of the Greek authorities to discuss additional clarifications.

(6)

The Commission requested additional information from the Greek authorities by letter dated 27 October 2010. The Greek authorities asked for a delay extension by letter dated 18 November 2011 that the Commission accepted by letter of 2 December 2011. The Greek authorities responded to this request for information on 8 February 2011.

2.

BACKGROUND 2.1.

The Piraeus Port Authority S.A.

(7)

The company, Piraeus Port Authority S.A. or Οργανισμός Λιμένος Πειραιώς ("PPA") was established by law 2688/1999, through conversion of a body governed by public law, Piraeus Port Authority created in 1930, into a public utility company.

(8)

On 13 February 2002 a 40 year concession agreement was signed between the Greek State and PPA. This agreement was ratified by law 3654/2008. According to this agreement, PPA has the exclusive right of use and exploitation of land, building and infrastructure of the port land zone of the Port of Piraeus4. In particular, the concession agreement provides for the right of PPA to sub-contract the operation of part of the port to a third party against payment5. 2.2.

The Port of Piraeus

(9)

The Port of Piraeus is divided into two areas: the commercial port and the passenger port. The commercial port has 3 terminals; the container terminal, the cargo terminal and the automobile terminal.

(10)

The container terminal has tw