On 6 November 2017, the European Commission approved, under EU State Aid rules, the prolongation under 2022 of various support measures in Belgium in favour of maritime transport. The overall objective of the Belgian measures is to encourage ship owners to register their ships in an EU Member State and so ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards. The Belgian scheme applies to ships registered in any EEA (European Economic Area) state. Essentially the Belgian scheme taxes shipping companies not on their profit but on the tonnage the company operates. The tonnage approach is applied to core revenues from shipping activities, ancillary revenues and revenues from towage and dredging. The companies must be active in the transport of goods and passengers by sea and changes have been introduced to ensure that the benefit of the tax does not spill over into other sectors. Shipping companies are required to at least maintain their current EU registrations.