The European Commission has ordered France and Belgium to end tax breaks for ports, saying they distort competition in the 28-nation European Union.
The European Union's executive arm said in a statement Thursday that corporate tax exemptions granted to many French and Belgian ports "provide them with a selective advantage, in breach of EU state aid rules."
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Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that "unjustified corporate tax exemptions for ports distort the level playing field and fair competition. They must be removed."
The Commission last year issued a similar order to the Netherlands.
France and Belgium must ensure that from Jan. 1, 2018, their ports are subject to the same corporate tax regime as other companies.