Greek owners urge EC to review tonnage tax stance

The European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, visited Posidonia in Athens on the show’s final day, where she was hit with demands not to change Greece’s tonnage tax arrangements, a longstanding source of disagreement between Athens and Brussels.

The European Commission has demanded changes to Greece’s tonnage tax system, something that has been met by mass exodus threats from Greek shipowners in recent months.

The president of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), Theodore Veniamis, said at a joint press conference with the EC Commissioner today: “The EU maritime policy needs to focus on the competitiveness of the fleet, which is put at risk due to a strict interpretation and application of competition law. There is no distortion of competition between European shipping industries. The risk comes from competition by third countries. Europe needs to monitor developments in the Far East. So as not to lose its shipping sector and maritime expertise. So as not to be deprived of its maritime transport and, therefore, its energy self-sufficiency.”

The EC bureaucrat for her part would not be drawn on the matter, instead deciding to focus her speech on more general matters likely to effect world shipping in the years to come.

“Investments, digitalisation, new technologies and related innovations are the core drivers in this internal market,” Bulc said.

Posidonia 2016 closed today – for full details of the event , click here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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