Rome, Italy, January 10, 2019 – Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Edoardo Rixi has responded to the position taken by the EU Commission (EC) against the tax exemptions for Italian ports.
On January 8, 2019, the EC announced a decision calling for Italian (and Spanish) ports to align their taxation of ports with state aid rules.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Ports are key infrastructure for economic growth and regional development. That is why EU State aid rules provide ample room for member states to support and invest in ports. At the same time, to ensure fair competition across the EU, ports generating profits from economic activities should pay taxes in the same way as other companies – no more, no less.”
The Commission has “invited” Italy and Spain to adapt their legislation in order to ensure that ports, as from 1 January 2020, will pay corporate tax in the same way as other companies in Italy and Spain, respectively. Each country now has two months to react.
Rixi commented that Italy will confront the EC because the observations on the alleged state aid, as formulated, would mean a very serious limitation in the infrastructure investment plan of the Italian government.
He added that the peculiarities of Italian ports, which together with the Spanish ones are fundamental for the development of the Mediterranean, should be preserved and that the government could carry out a review of the role of its port authorities and the Delrio law (which defined the latest port system structure), whilst challenging any disadvantages faced locally against ports in northern Europe.