07 March 2016 – Today and tomorrow, the European Parliament, gathering in Strasbourg for the March plenary session, will debate and vote on the report of Mr Knut Fleckenstein (A8-0023/2016) regarding the Proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports.
Since the adoption of the Commission proposal in May 2013, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has been assessing the concrete impact of the Regulation proposal and expressing its concerns. European port authorities were very much worried about the initial Commission proposal since they feared that it could make well-performing European ports engines sputtering, instead of providing ports the tools needed to face current and future challenges.
Since the start, ESPO has entered into a constructive dialogue with the TRAN rapporteur, Mr Knut Fleckenstein, and the TRAN shadow rapporteurs. European port authorities recognise the efforts made by the rapporteur and other members of the Transport committee to understand European ports and port authorities
Overall, ESPO believes this understanding of European ports and their diversity is well reflected in the final report that is submitted to the plenary vote. 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 ports in Europe by allowing different tools (limitation, PSO, internal operator, …);
Dredging not any longer considered as a port service;
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 therefore asks the European Parliament to support the compromise position as voted in the Transport committee. European ports believe that this report is a good basis for starting negotiations with the Council in view of achieving an acceptable legislative framework for ports in Europe. ESPO is confident that the remaining concerns can be addressed during these negotiations and therefore hopes that the plenary will give a mandate to the rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs to start negotiating with the Council.