A restructuring plan for the Gdansk shipyards has finally been agreed with the European Commission meaning disputed support measures worth 251 million euros have been authorised.
In recent years the shipyards of Gdansk in Poland have been better known as the cradle of the “Solidarity” movement (which ultimately toppled communism in Poland) than as a industrial powerhouse. Indeed their recent survival has only been ensured by a series of Polish government aids which the European Commission condemned in 2005 as a distortion of fair competition. But now, a plan for diversifying the yard’s activities and drastically cutting back capacity has been agreed between the yard’s owners (Ukranian Industrian Group – ISD) and the European Commission meaning that the disputed payments can be approved. The deal includes a further payment of 35 million euros to cover the restructuring costs. But according to the owners, the Polish government, and the European Commission’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, the deal ensures the economic viability of the iconic Gdansk shipyards for many years to come.