(13/10/04) Mededeling van de Europese Commissie over een nieuw ontwerp Havenrichtlijn

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Dossier Havenrichtlijn - wat voorafging

De Europese Commissie heeft vandaag een nieuw voorstel goedgekeurd voor een richtlijn inzake de toegang tot de markt voor havendiensten, met de bedoeling het concurrentievermogen van de havens in de EU te vergroten en congestie en milieuverontreiniging te helpen verminderen, onder meer door de zeescheepvaart te bevorderen. Met deze nieuwe EU-wetgeving worden specifieke en duidelijke regels ingevoerd inzake de toegang tot de markt voor havendiensten - nagenoeg de enige vervoerssector waarvoor er nog geen communautair wetgevingskader is - en wordt gezorgd voor gelijke kansen in de concurrentiestrijd tussen havens.

"Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat dit nieuwe voorstel nu de nodige maatregelen bevat om de bezorgdheid over verschillende punten uit het vorige voorstel weg te nemen", beklemtoonde vice-voorzitter Loyola de Palacio, die bevoegd is voor de portefeuilles vervoer en energie. "Er moet dringend een evenwicht worden gevonden tussen concurrentievermogen en kwaliteit van de dienstverlening in de havens van de EU, die van doorslaggevend belang zijn voor de ontwikkeling van de korte vaart. Zonder een duidelijk en transparant kader komen er geen ‘snelwegen van de zee’," voegde zij eraan toe.

De markt van de havendiensten wordt gekenmerkt door de complexiteit en de verscheidenheid van de geldende nationale en andere voorschriften, de heterogene aard van de havendiensten en de diversiteit van de havens (o.m. wat betreft status, eigendom, beheerstype, financieringspraktijken, grootte, functie en geografische kenmerken). Daarom moet voldoende rekening worden gehouden met de eigen aard van elke haven en het belang daarvan voor de gebruikers, exploitanten, eigenaars, enz.

Reactie Groen! op het voorstel van de Commissie

Dit zijn de belangrijkste kwesties die in het nieuwe voorstel van de Commissie aan de orde komen:

Concurrentie binnen havens (concurrentie tussen leveranciers van dezelfde havendiensten binnen een haven).

* Doel is te zorgen voor een efficiënte verlening van havendiensten, d.w.z. diensten van commerciële waarde die tegen betaling aan havengebruikers wordt verleend. Betaling van deze diensten is normaal niet inbegrepen in de lasten die worden aangerekend voor het recht om een haven aan te doen of erin te werken. Deze diensten kunnen zowel binnen het havengebied als op de waterwegen naar en van de haven worden verleend.

Concurrentie tussen havens (gelijke kansen in de onderlinge concurrentiestrijd).

* Doel is te komen tot een transparanter kader inzake de financiering van haveninfrastructuur.

De nieuwe tekst van de Commissie is gebaseerd op haar oorspronkelijke voorstel van 2001 en het gewijzigde voorstel van 2002, alsmede op talrijke constructieve amendementen die zijn voortgekomen uit de bemiddelingstekst, de twee lezingen van het Europees Parlement, het gemeenschappelijk standpunt van de Raad en het overleg met belanghebbenden en andere betrokken partijen.

Annex


WHAT DOES NOT CHANGE?

* The scope of the Directive, i.e. annual the thresholds for the ports covered, TEN Transport category A list – 1,5 mio tons and/or 200.00 passengers; and the port services concerned: pilotage, towage, mooring cargo and passengers handling (Articles 2 & 3.6).
* The neutrality of the Directive on the application by Member States (“in no way affects the rights and obligations”) of their social legislation, including relevant national rules on health, safety and employment of personnel (Article 4).
* The neutrality of the Directive on the application by Member States (“in no way affects the rights and obligations”) of law and order, safety and security at ports as well as environmental protection (Article 5).
* The criteria for granting authorisations should be objective, transparent, non-discriminatory, relevant and proportional, and should be made public (Article 7).

It is important to note that these criteria shall only relate, where applicable, to

(a) the professional qualifications of the service provider and of his personnel, his sound financial situation and sufficient insurance cover,

(b) maritime safety or the safety and security of the port or access to it, its installations, equipment and persons,

(c) compliance with employment and social rules, including those laid down in collective agreements, provided that they are compatible with Community law,

(d) compliance with local, national and international environmental requirements,

(e) the development policy of the port.

* The reasons for introducing a limitation in the number of service providers for one or more port services must be objective and are enumerated, reasons or constraints relating to available space or capacity, safety considerations or requirements deriving from environmental regulations (Article 3.12). The highest possible number of service providers must be allowed (Article 9).

* The neutrality of the competent authority regarding decisions on limitations in the number of service providers and on selection procedures must be assured (Articles 8 & 9).

* For pilotage the Commission proposes the text which was approved during the conciliation procedure (Article 14). Pilotage is therefore included in the scope of the Directive and recognized as a service of a commercial nature. However, particular emphasis is put on the key importance of service specificities it is subject to.

In particular, it is allowed to submit authorisations to particularly strict criteria related with public service obligations and maritime safety. For this purpose, competent authorities may, on a case by case basis, either reserve to themselves, or directly grant an exclusive right to an organisation for the provision of pilotage services in a port. Adoption of port-specific solutions is thus allowed.

It should be noted that, self-handling for pilotage is included in the Directive in the form of Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PECs).

* Transparent accounting for the managing body of the port is required.
* The issue of inter port (between ports) competition is addressed as well. Therefore as already agreed in conciliation by the Commission, the EP and Council:

(a) The text providing for the application of the financial transparency directive to all ports covered by the legislative proposal is included (Article 16).

(b) The State Aid Guidelines text agreed is also included. This provides for State Aid guidelines to be adopted by the Commission within a year after the adoption of the Directive (Article 17).

WHICH ARE THE INNOVATIONS – main new elements?

* Authorisations for service providers become mandatory and a system for granting authorisations is established (Article 7). The Commission wishes in this way to reconcile the need to allow efficient and effective access of competent port service providers with the need to ensure proper management of a port with its inherent constraints as well as to ensure a satisfactory level of professional qualifications.

Within a certain time frame following the entry into force of the Directive all providers of port services in a port will have to operate on the basis of an authorisation.

Authorisations granted prior to the entry into force of the Directive need to be reviewed, since they were not granted in conformity with its rules and stipulations. However, at the same time account has to be taken of legitimate expectations of current service providers. The system will also apply for new authorisations to be granted after the entry into force of the Directive. The timeframe set is a maximum of 18 months after the latest possible date for transposition of the Directive (18 + 18 months).

The proposed system allows for an authorisation simply to be granted without any further requirements, but it also foresees the possibility for this to be done through a selection procedure (described in Article 11), either if a port authority so decides and/or an existing, or new, service provider so asks.

* The method used for granting the authorisation will also determine what will happen in the event of a later limitation in the number of service providers of a port service (Article 10).

If and when a limitation in the number of service providers arises:

- an authorisation which has been granted through a selection procedure must remain in force unchanged.
- an authorisation which has been granted without a selection procedure will have to be terminated and a selection procedure will have to be launched.

Compensation is always foreseen for the existing service provider for his past investments which have not yet been fully amortised if he does not win the selection procedure. This compensation shall into account the overall economic balance of the service provided during the previous period, according to clear and pre-established criteria.

Provisions for authorisations which include property and ownership rights in a port are somewhat different, as their specificity has been taken into account.

* Durations of authorisations for service providers (Article 12) are still linked to the investment made by the service provider. The time frames proposed are in line with real general depreciation rules applied in the EU. They are higher than those originally proposed in 2001, but lower that those of the conciliation text.
* As a general rule, self-handling operations may be provided using the land-based personnel of the self-handler (Articles 3.9 & 13).

Use of land-based personnel to carry out self-handling will increase employment in ports, with the local communities the first beneficiaries. Needless to say that personnel will have to be employed in full respect of the applicable national and Community rules dealing with employment and social issues, following the same general rules and conditions set for all other personnel involved in cargo handling.

In addition to using land-based personnel, ships providing an authorised regular shipping service in the context of Short Sea Shipping or operating on Motorways of the Sea may, in addition, carry out self-handling using the ship’s regular sea-faring crew (article 13.2).

Authorised regular shipping services, Short Sea Shipping and Motorways of the Sea operations are EU policies whose main aim is to reduce land (road) transport. The latter are defined in Decision no 884/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 200, amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network.

The EU is supporting increased recourse to them in various manners, including financing through Community funds. It would thus only be normal to further encourage them through Community legislation.

It should be stressed that an authorisation is needed for all kinds of self-handling. The criteria for granting such authorisations must be the same as those applying to providers of the same or a comparable port service, provided these are relevant (see above, art. 7). Competent authorities shall grant such authorisations to self-handlers in an efficient and expedient manner. Authorisations for self-handling shall remain in force so long as the self-handler complies with the criteria for granting them.

It is important to note that the right to self-handle in no way affect the application of national rules concerning training requirements and professional qualifications, employment and social matters, including collective agreements, provided that they are compatible with Community law and the international obligations of the Community and the Member State concerned.

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De Groenen/EVAGroenen en Europese Vrije Alliantie in het Europees Parlement.

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