Greece faces millions of euros in EU fines for shipyard aid

The European Union is taking Greece back to court over its failure to claim back illegal aid from a shipbuilder, the bloc's executive said Friday, in the latest trouble facing the crisis-plagued Mediterranean country.

The European Commission has been trying since 2008 to have Greece recover more than 250 million euros (275 million dollars) in illegal state aid granted to the Hellenic Shipyards company, which had long faced financial trouble.

The European Court of Justice confirmed the commission's findings in 2012, but Greece still failed to recoup the aid.

The commission is now asking the EU's top court to apply a lump sum fine of around 6 million euros, along with a daily penalty of 34,974 euros until Greece complies.

"The implementation of the 2008 decision will remove the unfair advantage received by Hellenic Shipyards, in breach of EU state aid rules, and aims to restore the level playing field in the market," the commission said.

Greece was one of the countries worst hit by Europe's economic crisis, requiring three international bailouts since 2010.

It was also referred to court on Friday - together with Luxembourg and Romania - for failing to implement EU rules aimed at strengthening the role of national rail regulatory bodies. The commission is seeking a 30,311-euro daily fine against Greece in that case.

Also on Friday, the commission turned to the court for help in getting Luxembourg to comply with chemical labelling rules; Bulgaria to protect bird species in the Rila Mountains; the Czech Republic to take back hazardous waste shipped to Poland; and Austria to lift restrictions imposed on foreign ski instructors.

Last update: Fri, 22/07/2016 - 15:26
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