EU Ports policy: time-out not an excuse to wind down efforts

13 Mar 2014

MEP Knut Fleckenstein, the rapporteur on the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Market access to port services and financial transparency of ports announced today that the legislative procedure for this particular file will be suspended.

Mr Fleckenstein stated three reasons for his decision, namely time constraints, a lack of compromise on one of the most important elements: the scope of the market access chapter, and, finally, the need to better understand the European Commission’s intentions with regard to state aid rules applicable to ports.

Given the two previous failed attempts to regulate EU ports in 2003 and 2006, the more modest and cautious approach adopted by the Commission on its third charge seemed at first to have a better chance of succeeding.

Nevertheless it all turned sour at the very early stages of the legislative process. The Commission’s proposal was about to be extremely watered down by Members of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN). Indeed, over 500 amendments tabled by MEPs and compromise amendments, many of which would have led to a text destitute of meaning, thus delivering the death blow to the Commission’s proposal.

“The initial proposal was already weak to begin with, given that essential elements such as cargo-handling and passenger services had been excluded. Disheartening as it was to witness some of the amendments introduced in Parliament, we maintained until now a glimmer of hope that the proposal would not be stripped down to little more than an empty shell” deplored Patrick Verhoeven.

“The time-out of the debate on the Regulation proposal as announced by Mr Fleckenstein may, under the present circumstances, be the only sensible option left. It should however not stop the European Commission from encouraging port development and efficiency in the meantime. There is now an opportunity to make progress on the long-overdue proposal regarding pilotage exemption certificates and follow up on those areas where market access and transparency are problematic” he added.


For more information please contact:

Ms Lieselot Marinus
Director – International Relations, Security, Ports and Logistics
Phone +32 2 510 61 28


Mr Dimitrios Banas
Manager – Communication and Information, Passenger Transport
Phone +32 2 510 61 22