The European Union court rejected the appeal of Breton fishermen, who were trying to assert the risks for their activity linked to the construction of six wind farms at sea, in a decision consulted by AFP on Friday.
In 2011 and 2013, France launched calls for tenders for the construction of six wind farms in the Channel and the Atlantic, within the maritime zones operated by the Breton fleets.
Drilling work has started in the bay of Saint-Brieuc.
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The 25-year construction and operation projects of these parks are subsidized in the form of an obligation to purchase electricity at a rate higher than the market price, the additional cost being fully offset by the state.
No "indirect competition" for the judge
The applicants, led by the Cooperative des artisans fishermen associés (CAPA), challenged a decision of July 2019 of the European Commission, which considered that this state aid was compatible with the internal market and therefore raised no objection. .
The EU tribunal, competent for appeals from individuals or from a Member State against Commission decisions, considers that "
the fishermen have not demonstrated the risk of a concrete impact of the disputed aid on their situation
" , according to the ruling on Wednesday.
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The European judge considers that fishermen are not, as they claim, in "
" with the operators of offshore wind farms, insofar as they do not exploit the same "
": the fishery resource for the former and the kinetic resource of the wind for the latter. Moreover, without excluding "
in principle that aid concretely affects the interests of third parties
", the court considers that the fishermen have not provided proof that these possible impacts "
result from the aid itself.
". In France, coastal fishermen are very mobilized against offshore wind turbine projects, believing that both the construction sites and their presence will disrupt the local ecosystem and reduce the quality of the resource.