European shipowners control approximately 40% of the world fleet. However, only a fraction of this total flies a European flag. A suitable State-aid policy is required to preserve the current European fleet and preferably to expand it. The existing State-aid guidelines must remain at the heart of this undertaking, in view of their positive effect on policy-making. Understanding that Europe can only make decisions regarding European-flagged vessels, much can be achieved: monitoring working conditions and safety on board, striving for a high-quality, environment-friendly fleet and strengthening the maritime cluster. Persevering along the path traced by the guidelines will boost the positive effects of shipping on the Belgian economy.