Brussels to support Poland Gdansk shipyard

June 3, 2009 at 2:56 PM

WARSAW, Poland, June 3 (UPI) -- European Union officials are likely to back Poland's plan to save the Gdansk shipyard, the symbol of overthrowing communist rule, officials said.

Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner for competition, said the government's project on restructuring the Gdansk shipyard on the Baltic Sea coast could be approved by the European Commission by the end of this month, Polish Radio reported Wednesday.

If the plan is accepted by Brussels, the Gdansk yard would not be obliged to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars it was illegally receiving from the Polish government since the country became member of the EU in 2004.

However, in coming months the yard would have to reduce its production capabilities by cutting two of the construction docks in a move that would create equal competition rights with other shipyards in the EU.

In 1980, striking Gdansk workers formed the first independent trade union in the former Soviet bloc, and the Solidarity union led by Lech Walesa nine years later helped in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

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