The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to assess whether the public service compensation granted to two French shipping companies complies with EU state aid regulations.

Background

In 2022, France agreed to provide 853.6 million euros ($924 million) in compensation to Corsica Linea and La Meridionale. The goal was to support maritime transport services for passengers and freight between Marseille and Corsica from 2023 to 2030.

Investigation Scope

The commission requires more information to evaluate if the services paid for meet a public need and if the volume of freight capacity aligns with that need. Additionally, they aim to ensure that the contracts adhere to EU rules on public procurement.

Next Steps

The initiation of the investigation allows France and other stakeholders to submit their feedback. It's important to note that this doesn't indicate any preconceived conclusions from the commission.

EU State Aid Regulations

According to EU state aid guidelines, companies can receive compensation for providing public services at an additional cost. However, this is subject to specific conditions to prevent overcompensation and maintain fair competition.

Recent Acquisition

La Meridionale was acquired by French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM in the previous year.

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