EU orders Spain's shipyards to repay state aid
State aid received by Spanish shipyards between 2007 and 2011 must be repaid, the European Commission decided on Wednesday, according to a European Union source talking to AFP.
The 2007 start date represents a softening of demands compared to an earlier 2005 start date for state aid to be repaid, which had amounted to some 3.0 billion euros (almost $4.0 billion).
But the shipyard owners still say the demand will crush the sector completely in Spain.
How the EU's competition authorities address the case is being watched keenly by the industry in The Netherlands, France, Greece and Malta, the owners' industry body Pymar also said referring to an ongoing EU competition investigation into state aid there.
The association said on Tuesday that the new Commission plan was "absolutely insufficient," claiming that "the effects on the sector would be the same as under previous proposals -- the disappearance of Spain's shipyards."
Representing 19 yards, Pymar said that "the end" of the private shipbuilding industry in Spain would mean the loss of 87,000 jobs.
© 2013 AFP