A threat hangs over the Basque Country, or Euskadi faced with the possibility that the European Union (EU) will obligate 19 Spanish shipyards, among which five are Basque, to return 3 billion Euros worth of aid granted by the government between 2005 and 2011, equal to about 95% of the funds received during those years and directly or indirectly putting 87,000 positions at risk, mainly in Galicia, Basque Country or Euskadi and Asturias.
The inquiry, reopened three years ago by the European Union’s (EU) Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, hits the so-called fiscal leasing, the preceding financing model for Spanish shipyards pointed out by Norwegian and Dutch competitors to customs officers because of affecting the competition with the detractions applied by the Spanish government; this is why there is a threat hanging over the Basque Country or Euskadi.
The spokesman for the Basque government, Josu Erkoreka, also share this concern, and has warned that in the case where the European Government obligates the Spanish shipyards to reimburse the aid received during recent years by the State, “this would be the death penalty for the Basque shipping industry.”
At this point, after having emphasized the high quality technology of the Basque shipping industry in its auxiliary sector, Erkoreka said that “it would be a very serious blow for the Basque shipping industry, an industry that generates a significant wealth and an economy linked also to a tradition deeply-rooted in the economy of the Basque Country, or Euskadi.”
Echoing the titles of threat hanging over the Basque Country, or Euskadi, the president of the Bizkai Buru Batzar and Member of Parliament Andoni Ortuzar, said that it would be “extremely serious” for the Basque shipping industry if the European Union (EU) should force them to reimburse the assistance.
Ortuzar has recognized that the Basque shipping industry “has already suffered greatly” and, remembering the past splendor of the Euskadi or Naval shipyards, said that “that already it doesn’t exist anymore, and the rest that remains will probably be extremely damaged with this penalty.”