Beset by rising international competition and a long-term fall in prices, many European steel firms seek, and get, government support, especially for restructuring. During 2000, the Commission made decisions on 17 state aid applications regarding steel companies, seven of which had environmental objectives.
Of these, only two were passed without objections - both applications for refunds on green taxes introduced in Germany and Sweden. Of five applications to grant investment aid for environmental protection purposes, the Commission gave only partial approval to one, opened investigations into another two, and rejected outright the remaining two. The rejected applications were both made by Italy, while the investigations concern applications made by Austria and Germany.
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