THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC) has no objections regarding state investment aid to the chemical company Duslo Šaľa. The Slovak government plans to provide regional investment aid in the form of tax relief worth €58 million to Duslo Šaľa. The company is planning to invest around €310 million into modernising its production facilities for ammonia in Šaľa. This way it wants to preserve around 1,800 jobs at the plant and hundreds of other jobs at supplying companies for the plant’s production.
“It is good news for the region of Šaľa in the new year with regards to the fact that the European Commission refers to the decision as aid for the region, which has a high unemployment level and standards of living here are below the EU average,” Slovak Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis said in response to the EC’s decision as cited by the TASR newswire. He added that the investment would stabilise working conditions in the given region.
The EC announced on January 6 that it has found that Slovak plans to provide €58 million in regional investment aid to Duslo are in line with EU state aid rules. Duslo, which forms part of the Czech conglomerate Agrofert owned by Czech Finance Minister [of Slovak origin] Andrej Babiš, is located in Šaľa, and produces nitrogen (including ammonia), compound industrial fertilisers and other chemical products. The EC concluded that the aid would further regional development objectives without unduly distorting competition in the single market, the EC wrote in its press release.
The aid has been criticised by the Slovak opposition. Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MEP Richard Sulík stated that the most suspicious thing about the tax relief provided to Duslo Šaľa is selective treatment – more specifically, too much tax relief compared to other companies.
12. Jan 2015 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff