The GRENDEL project consortium, INDanube and representatives of Danube countries work together on the elaboration of a state aid model programme promoting sustainable modernisation of inland waterway vessels in the Danube region.
A first internal version of the model state aid scheme was developed, taking into account the results gathered during the project, information exchanges with the European Commission (DG COMP) on legal parameters, with representatives of public bodies of Danube States and from the private sector. Measures were pre-identified for becoming activities funded under national state aid schemes. The state aid model programme promoting sustainable modernisation of inland waterway vessels in the Danube region addresses five pillars (priorities), as illustrated below.
The model state aid scheme constitutes a tool at the disposal of the Danube Member States for the financing period 2021-2027. It serves as a basis to develop targeted harmonised financial instruments to proactively stimulate innovative vessel modernisation activities in as many Danube countries as possible. The proposed model state aid scheme is expected to be finalised by the end of 2020.
With the Corona crisis of 2020, it can be assumed that the investment in the fleet will be even more reduced to the absolutely necessary investments in the coming years. A state aid scheme would constitute an incentive in this context. Due to the mentioned crisis, several aids have been issued in EU countries, but they are not dealing explicitly with the greening of the fleet. In general, companies shall pay attention to the national legal framework in place in the area of state aids, as there might be special cases that can derive benefits for IWT companies as well. Pro Danube International (PDI) is part of the discussions with the European Commission, the River Commissions and the other relevant European branch organisations with regard to the exit and recovery strategy from the corona crisis where the more flexible use of state aids is one of the topics on the agenda. The European Commission advises the Member States to enable the use of these aids for the recovery from the current situation.