There has been no progress towards an agreement among European Union member-states on the issue of state aid to Europe's shipyards, but the fifteen EU industry ministers agreed to lodge a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against South Korea for illegal trade practices on the global shipbuilding market. The European Commission had drawn up a proposal that member-states be allowed once more to issue subsidies to shipyards until the dispute over the South Korean practices is resolved. It had resolved that the right to subsidies be restricted to container ships and chemicals tankers.
Within the EU, the right to issue subsidies to the shipbuilding industry originally ran out last December. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy lined up alongside Germany in defending the Commission's proposals in the face of opposition from Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain. Diplomats from Sweden and Finland on Tuesday signaled that their governments have no intention of abandoning their resistance to the renewal of subsidies. Now, in a bid to accommodate the two sides, the Commission is to draft a new proposal by the end of June at the latest.