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The Estonian flag even cheaper

(B2) The European Commission has decided to support where it hurts: the employment of sailors, belonging to a “cheaper” flag. In a context of fierce competition, the Estonian flag made its mark through the conflict between Finnish unions who opposed placing the Viking, a ship sailing between Tallinn and Helsinki, under the Estonian flag. (another affair had broken out at Irish Ferry following the dismissal of Irish sailors and their replacement by Estonian sailors – at lower cost – by an Irish company Irish Ferry)
However, on June 13, the European Commission approved social aid from Estonia for European seafarers working on board “cargo” ships assigned to international traffic. “The measure is aimed at shipping companies established in Estonia which own such cargo vessels or operate them under charter contract. The aim of the aid is to strengthen the international competitiveness of the Estonian shipping sector.” explains a communicated of the Commission.
The Estonian authorities will grant a reimbursement of social charges, up to a full relief, for European seafarers working on board cargo ships engaged in international trade which are registered in the Estonian shipping register and fly the Estonian flag. The beneficiaries of the aid will be private shipping companies residing primarily or secondary in Estonia.
On the other hand, the Commission says nothing about the working conditions of the sailors, their remuneration, which would be a fair consideration for this green light.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).