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American Shipper

EC commissioner announces new port reform plan

EC commissioner announces new port reform plan

   European Commission vice president Loyola de Palacio said Thursday she has given her services instructions to develop a new port reform package, following the failure of the directive on market access to port services in November last year, the Brussels-base European Sea Ports Organization reported.

   “We consider a number of options”, the EC commissioner said at a conference of the European Sea Ports Organization. “However, lessons can and should be learned from the reactions to the commission’s proposed directive of 2001.”

   In particular, she referred to the following elements:

   * Liberalization of port services should fully respect social, health, safety and environmental legislation both at European and national level.

   * The “level playing field” argument that competition between ports must take place on a fair basis, with clear rules.

   * A European community framework should contain general principles and provisions, allowing a sufficiently flexible approach to respect the variety of ways in which ports are organized and operated throughout the EU.

   “I intend to formally submit a proposal on ports before I leave my term of office in the commission, that is before Nov. 1,” De Palacio added. She referred to a revised draft that may be available before the end of this month.

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