The European Commission has found that public funding of EUR 270 million to build a new cross‑Channel terminal in the Port of Calais is in line with EU state aid rules.
The new terminal was deemed to further EU transport policy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
In April 2015, the French authorities had indicated that they intended to finance a project to expand the Port of Calais, with the funding coming from the French State and local authorities in Pas-de-Calais and, subject to approval, the European Union through the Connecting Europe Facility.
The project to expand the Port of Calais includes, in particular, the building of a new terminal.
France carried out an in-depth financial analysis showing that the terminal operator’s income from the use of the infrastructure would be insufficient to cover the investment costs over a period of 50 years.
Therefore, the project could not have been carried out without public funding. The Commission found that the public funding was limited to the minimum necessary to make the investment possible.
Furthermore, the distortion of competition will be limited given the traffic growth forecasts and the fact that there are other ports and the Eurotunnel which will continue to exert competitive pressure on the Port of Calais.
The Commission has therefore concluded that the positive effects of the project will clearly outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
The Port of Calais, situated on the strait linking the North Sea to the English Channel, has recently been hit with a wave of traffic blockades and slowdowns caused by a series of strikes organised by MyFerryLink workers over job uncertainties.