This afternoon, the Transport Committee of the European Parliament has expressed its support (29 in favour, 13 against, 3 abstentions) for the compromise reached by MEP Knut Fleckenstein (picture) and the TRAN shadow rapporteurs on the proposal for a port regulation adopted in May 2013.
“We welcome the deal reached this afternoon in the Transport Committee of the European Parliament. When the proposal came out two years ago, we feared that it would cause a slowdown of well-performing European port engines, instead of providing ports the tools needed to face current and future challenges. Thanks to the open and constructive dialogue with the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs serious steps have been set towards a realistic and acceptable Port Regulation and a possible deal with the Council. We thank all those, and not least the rapporteur, who contributed in forming this coalition of the willing on what seemed a mission impossible at the start”, says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes in particular the following elements of the compromise:
- Strengthening of the principle of autonomy of the port authority to set its own charges;
- A flexible framework for the organisation of port services respecting the diversity of port in Europe by allowing different tools (limitation, PSO, internal operator, …);
- Deletion of dredging from the scope of the Regulation;
- Request for more clarity on state aid for port infrastructure and the request to include certain port investments in the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER);
- More financial transparency when ports receive public funding;
- Opposition to enlarging the scope of the Concession Directive through this Regulation.
ESPO stresses however that not all concerns have been addressed yet and hopes that the remaining issues can be further addressed during the negotiations with the Council. The main outstanding issues are: strengthening the role of the port authority in setting the minimum requirements for the service providers; a more pragmatic framework as regards the relations with port users and stakeholders; the plea for a good and efficient framework on handling of complaints instead of the supervision provision and a better definition of the scope of the confinement principle in case of internal operator.
“Considering the outcome of the vote, we hope that the Parliament reconsiders the mandate to be given to the rapporteur for negotiations with the Council. The deal reached in the Parliament is balanced. A quick start of negotiations between Parliament, Council and Commission is the best guarantee for achieving a port regulation that means a step forward for every port in Europe”, concludes Isabelle Ryckbost.
For more information: Isabelle Ryckbost, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0032 475 35 76 93.