EC BLAMES PORTUGAL AND ITALY FOR CARGO-SHARING DEALS
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it has decided to pursue infringement proceedings against the governments of Portugal and Italy with regard to maritime cargo sharing arrangements with third countries.
The EC has decided to send a so-called “reasoned opinion” to Italy and a “letter of formal notice” to Portugal because of alleged cargo-sharing agreements that do not comply with EU competition rules on the freedom to provide services in maritime transport. The “reasoned opinion” and “letter of formal notice” are steps of regulatory proceedings taken by the EC against actions that contravene EU rules.
Italy has concluded an agreement with China, and Portugal with the Republics of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Macedonia. The Brussels agency threatened to impose fines on Portugal if no satisfactory response is received within two months of the date of notification of the letter.
The bilateral agreement concluded between Italy and China “reserves the right to provide part of the traffic between those countries for Italian shipping companies, to the exclusion of shipping companies registered in other member states,” the EC said. If the Italian authorities does not produce a satisfactory response within two months, the EC said that it may decide to bring the case before the Court of Justice.
The EC said that Portugal’s agreement with Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia and Macedonia “reserves the right to transport cargo between the parties for vessels flying the flag of one of the parties or for vessels operated by persons or companies with the nationality of one of the parties.”
Under regulation 4055/86, cargo sharing arrangements concluded by European member states with third countries must be cancelled or modified.