On 25th of January 2016 the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament (“TRAN”) adopted the Draft Report following compromise amendments of Rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Hamburg) on the proposal for a regulation establishing a legislative framework for port services and ports.

The voting outcome resulted into 29 votes in favour, 13 against adopting and 3 abstentions.

Important compromise amendments, a.o. on the safeguarding of employees ‘rights were also adopted, These amendments clarified that the transfer of employees is no longer compulsory, but rather the safeguarding of their rights if and when a new operator would employ the same staff as the incumbent

Pertinent to point out is that the decision to enter into negotiations with the Council and the European Commission [Rule 73(2)] did not get the required qualified majority of 25 votes, being rejected by 1 vote.

It would mean that a further mandate for negotiations on the final draft would have to be granted by the Plenary of the European Parliament before seeing this legislative procedure carried further. The discussion and vote in Plenary (Strassbourg)  shall take place on 7th and 8th March 2016.

The ETA’s position remains unchanged, underlining the disproportionate character of the proposal regulating only 4 port services out of the 8 that contribute least to port charges among which 2 out of 3 technical nautical services (mooring and towage, as pilotage would be exempted). Hence, even in its presently amended draft this Regulation would not truly contribute to enhance European ports as “engines of growth”, despite the Rapporteur’s commendable efforts to improve the original draft of the Commission

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