Independiente, esa es la clave

The European Parliament will seek to force all EU coastal states to put in place truly independent authorities for dealing with ships in distress, said the Euro MP coordinating the parliament’s response.

Justin Stares

23 November 2007 Lloyds List

THE power of the European Parliament is to be put to the test in a clash with national governments over the designation of independent authorities for avoiding pollution disasters.

The European Parliament will seek to force all EU coastal states to put in place truly independent authorities for dealing with ships in distress, said the Euro MP coordinating the parliament’s response.

Belgian MEP Dirk Sterckx, rapporteur for the vessel traffic monitoring directive, said the parliament will not accept the decision by member states to remove all reference to ‘independent’ authorities, designed to take critical decisions on places of refuge for ships in danger of breaking up.

Governments represented in the EU Council of Ministers amended the legislation earlier this year because they were wary of creating bodies outside their control. «The Council of Ministers has basically taken out all the work we had done on these authorities, and it is not acceptable,» Mr Sterckx told Lloyd’s List. «We are going to put it back in. I am prepared to take out the word ‘independent’, even if [EU transport commissioner] Jacques Barrot would probably advise against it, but only if we then have a list defining exactly what these bodies will do.

«These bodies must have their powers laid out so they can act independently.»

As well as reference to independent authorities, the Council of Ministers stripped out a parliament amendment introducing a compensatory regime for ports which give sanctuary to stricken ships. Without these two measures, port authorities will look to avoid accepting such vessels for fear of exposing themselves to heavy financial risks and clean-up costs, says EU ports body Espo.

The proposed directive is now before the European Parliament for a second reading. Mr Sterckx said he believes there is still a parliamentary majority in favour of the amendments.

If there is still no agreement between the two institutions, they will enter into a complex tie-breaking mechanism known as ‘conciliation.’ This outcome was likely, the MEP predicted.

The parliament believes independent authorities are essential to avoid a repeat of the Prestige disaster, when politicians intervened to order the vessel out to sea, thereby worsening the resulting oil spill.

On the fate of the Erika-3 package of seven maritime safety proposals, Mr Sterckx said the parliament would probably accept splitting the package into two. This would allow the five less controversial proposals to go forward while leaving the two controversial laws on ice. The parliament and Portugal, holder of the rotating EU presidency, were scheduled to discuss these issues in Brussels yesterday.

Esta entrada fue publicada en Uncategorized. Guarda el enlace permanente.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *