Officials in Poland say they have sent the European Union plans to
restructure three major shipyards, just meeting a deadline set by the
Poland's Treasury Minister, Aleksander Grad said Thursday that he had submitted the blueprints to Brussels.
EU had said Poland must present plans to restructure the shipyards by
Thursday - or else return billions of dollars in subsidies Poland has
received over the years. Returning the funds could bankrupt the
shipyards and force their closure.
The shipyards - in Gdansk,
Gdynia, and Szczecin - are famous for their roles in Poland's
anti-communist revolution on the 1980s. Labor leader Lech Walesa led a
strike at the Gdansk shipyard, eventually forcing the government to
recognize his Solidarity labor union.
Under EU rules, subsidies are only permitted for businesses working towards long-term sustainability.
Trade unions say the restructuring will eliminate hundreds of jobs at the shipyards.
A group of Polish workers protested outside EU headquarters in Brussels Wednesday over the EU's ultimatum.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.