This morning, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) of the European Parliament adopted its final report on the Directive proposal on the awarding of concessions.
The vote confirmed a compromise amendment to the Directive, whereby public domain and private rental or land lease contracts, particularly in sea and inland ports, would not fall within the scope of the Directive. An important condition is that the port authority establishes only general conditions for the use of land, without becoming a recipient of specific works or services provided by the terminal operator. The wording adopted by IMCO is similar to the position of Council, which reached a political agreement on the Directive last December. A fundamental difference is that Parliament has changed the original term ‘acquisition’ of works or services into ‘receiving’ works or services.
“This could introduce some ambiguity”, said ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “It happens that a port authority becomes the recipient of works undertaken by a terminal operator when the contract comes to the end of its duration. Although the port authority is not the intentional recipient, it de facto becomes the owner of any constructions left by the terminal operator. ‘Acquisition’ points more clearly at an intentional process.” Other compromise amendments were given almost unanimous support too. Rapporteur Philippe Juvin, underlined that the outcome was pretty far away from the Commission’s initial proposal. He also emphasised that for the trialogue negotiations with Council and the Commission Parliament should be as unified and as strong as possible.
The representative of the Irish Presidency stated that they are ready to present a proposal to COREPER and start negotiations with the objective to implement clear, pragmatic and workable legislation. IMCO coordinators will now decide on the next procedural steps to move the public procurement package forward as a whole. Next to the concessions Directive, the package includes the revision of the public procurement Directives. The aim is to come to an agreement in first reading.