Istrian Leaders Hold Talks with EU Officials on Uljanik Shipyard Future

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 23, 2018 – Istria County Prefect Valter Flego, Pula Mayor Boris Miletić and Member of the European Parliament Ivan Jakovčić held talks in Brussels on Tuesday with representatives of the European Commission Directorate-General for Competition after the Commission approved state aid to rescue the Uljanik shipyard in Pula.

All three thanked the Commission for approving the aid and commended the Croatian government’s efficiency in issuing a guarantee to rescue the shipyard, voicing confidence that Uljanik would find a strategic partner and undergo a successful restructuring.

Miletić said he was grateful the Commission recognised the importance of shipbuilding for Croatia’s economy. He said it was necessary to think about how to ensure its sustainability in the long term in competition with Southeast Asian shipyards.

Asked by the press how likely it was to find a strategic partner soon, Miletić said certain letters of intent had already been sent to Uljanik. He said he believed in Uljanik, its workers and management as well as the know-how acquired in over 160 years, and that he was sure a good strategic partner willing to inject fresh capital and enable the company to operate, grow and develop without state aid would be found.

Flego said the approval of the state aid would result in the payment of wages and resumption of production. The priority is to preserve production in Pula and Rijeka in the interest of Croatia’s shipbuilding and exports, he added.

Jakovčić said he would initiate a debate in the European Parliament on the future of Europe’s shipbuilding, which he said was faced with unequal competition from Southeast Asia.

The Commission said yesterday it “has found Croatian plans to grant Uljanik shipyard a State guarantee for a €96 million loan are in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will allow the company to meet urgent liquidity needs while preparing a restructuring plan, whilst competition distortions are limited.”

The Croatian government authorised the Finance Ministry on 11 January to issue a state guarantee amounting to 96 million euro in favour of the Croatian Postal Bank and/or other commercial banks in the country and abroad for a loan to rescue Uljanik. The guarantee was to become active upon approval by the Commission.


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