EU competition authorities approved on Monday Belgian tax measures for the shipping industry after the country pledged to open the scheme to all ships flying a European flag.

The European Commission said the measures would ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards in Europe.

“The Belgian scheme requires that if a shipping company wants to benefit from the scheme, a significant part of its fleet flies the flag of an EU or EEA State,” the EU executive said in a statement.

“In this respect, the Belgian authorities have committed to extend the benefit of tonnage tax to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag.”

The EEA refers to the 28 EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News.