Parliamentary question - O-000018/2017Parliamentary question

Taxation of ports


Question for oral answer O-000018/2017
to the Commission
Rule 128
Franck Proust, Renaud Muselier, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Hugues Bayet, Ivo Belet, Alain Cadec, Arnaud Danjean, Michel Dantin, Rachida Dati, Angélique Delahaye, Esther de Lange, Marielle de Sarnez, Gérard Deprez, Nathalie Griesbeck, Françoise Grossetête, Brice Hortefeux, Agnes Jongerius, Marc Joulaud, Philippe Juvin, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Constance Le Grip, Jeroen Lenaers, Louis Michel, Nadine Morano, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Maurice Ponga, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Claude Rolin, Dominique Riquet, Tokia Saïfi, Anne Sander, Kathleen Van Brempt, Peter van Dalen, Wim van de Camp, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Hilde Vautmans

In July 2013, the Commission sent a questionnaire to all Member States on the subject of port systems and their taxation in order to clarify the situation of ports in light of EU rules on state aid. Since then, on the basis of the questionnaire, the Commission has initiated formal procedures relating to exemption from corporate tax for the ports of three Member States (the Netherlands, France and Belgium). The Commission considers that this tax exemption constitutes state aid, thereby distorting competition.

Nevertheless, the European ports are not socio-economic actors like any others. Port authorities may sometimes perform public missions such as waterway police operations or the guaranteeing of proper access for all transport operators (notably dredging). They also participate in the economic and social development of the territories they serve. As pillars of the European transport map, they are access points and essential intermodal nodes, and also play a decisive role in the supply of goods and energy of a country as a whole. Ultimately, this legal instability and a state-by-state approach make investment perspectives much more complicated for the ports and the local authorities that support them.

In view of the above, can the Commission:

– be more transparent about the results of the questionnaire sent to the Member States in July 2013?

– commit to incorporating the characteristics and positive externalities of ports outlined above within its approach?