August 22, 2007
Gdansk yard faces EC threat
The executive board of Poland's Gdansk Shipyard, the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union, says demands by the European Commission to reduce the yard's capacity, can be met "in a few years from now at the earliest."
The EC wants two of the shipyard's three slipways to be closed if it is to approve state aid allocated to it after Poland joined the EU in 2004. Otherwise the yard would have to return the aid, risking bankruptcy.
The shipyard sent Brussels its final plan to limit its production on August 21, the final date to submit the documents to the European Commission.
If the Commission rejects the plan and the shipyard refuses to accept the conditions by the EC, the plant will have to reimburse millions of euros in aid-money it has already received.
Polish Radio reports that Vice-president of the shipyard Andrzej Boczkowski said the report which reached the EC on Monday states that if the slipways are closed, the shipyard in its present shape will be making losses.
Boczkowski said the only solution is to build a modern building dock, which could be possible after privatization of the yard and inflow of capital from a foreign investor.
Shipbuilders from Gdansk are to go to Brussels on August 31, the anniversary of Solidarity August Agreements signing in 1980 when striking workers conducted negotiations with the communist government, in defense of the Gdansk shipyard.