GRENDEL 2nd Public Consultation on State Aid for the Modernization of the Danube Inland Fleet

 

On 22nd of January 2020 the 2nd public Consultation on State Aid for the modernization of the Danube inland fleet within the framework of GRENDEL project took place in Budapest at the premises of the Danube Commission.

This public consultation was organized to provide the GRENDEL consortium with a feedback on the first outline of the proposed funding elements of a new State Aid Scheme which shall provide financial support to the barge operators in the Danube States for the modernization of their vessels. State Aid will be essential to enable the Danube fleet to adopt to the new challenges of climate change, close to zero emission in transport but also to reach higher efficiency for its transport operations.

The public financial assistance shall support to adapt the Danube inland vessel to highest environmental standards (such as stipulated by the NRMM/Stage V for engine emissions), improved safety but also enable the transport of a wider range of products which are currently not being transported due to lack of modern inland vessels. Inland waterway is in principle the most environmentally friendly mode of transport but also will have to improve following the zero-emissions target laid down in the Green Deal of the EU.

The jointly elaborated model State Aid Scheme shall enable the participating Danube States to file a State Aid Scheme for notification to EC/DG Competition which is widely harmonized and pre-discussed with the EC services in order to ensure a quick implementation with the help of the National Operational Programs for Transport of the forthcoming new financial period of the EU (for those countries which have access to cohesion and structural funds).

During the consultation meeting, 50 participants from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia (vessel operators, representatives from ministries and administrations responsible for inland waterborne transport and public funding), GRENDEL project partners and other invited IWT stakeholders, representatives of European Commission services (DG MOVE and DG COMP) discussed the aspects related to:

  • greening the Danube fleet with regard to EU IWT policy,
  • the legal framework for the state aid for modernizing the Danube fleet,
  • state aid for Danube fleet as part of National Operational Programs based on the example of Czech Republic,
  • investment needs, necessary measures and funding conditions,
  • experience with setting up public support measures, current intentions, national mechanisms etc.

The organized exchange of opinions between the delegations from Danube states will help the GRENDEL consortium under the lead of the coordinator Pro Danube International to finalize content and conditions of the model State Aid Scheme until April 2020 and to prepare the public administrations to launch the internal implementation procedures.

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