Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Sixth Report





COM (02) 203

Fourth Commission Report on the implementation of Council Regulation No. 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime cabotage (1999-2000).

Legal base:


Document originated:

24 April 2002

Deposited in Parliament:

28 May 2002



Basis of consideration:

EM of 11 June 2002

Previous Committee Report:


To be discussed in Council:

None planned

Committee's assessment:

Politically important

Committee's decision:

Not cleared



    1. This is the fourth biennial report on the implementation of Regulation 3577/92, which sets out the principle of freedom to provide maritime cabotage services in the EU (and applies to EFTA countries also). "Maritime cabotage" covers all mainland and island freight and passenger services between two ports in a single Member State.
    2. The document

    3. The report covers the period from 1999 to 2000 and includes sections on:

    • legislative developments in Member States and EFTA countries in the period under review;

    • statistics on cargo and passenger maritime cabotage; and

    • manning costs.

    1. In the first section the reports notes that almost all maritime cabotage services in Europe have been liberalised since 1 January 1999 and that the Greek market, the last to be partially protected, will be opened up from 1 November 2002. So, essentially, the operation of maritime transport services in one Member State can be carried out by operators based in another Member State. This section also notes public service obligations laid down by Member States, recording that only Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands do not lay down such obligations. In the second section detailed statistics show the United Kingdom as the largest market for cargo traffic and the third largest for passengers. In the section on manning costs the UK appears in the middle of a range, with the Finnish register as the most costly and the Portuguese as the least costly.
    2. A final section of the report notes that, partly owing to a decline in the available statistical data, the nature and frequency of these reports may need to change. In particular, future reports might be more qualitative than quantitative. The Commission invites comments on this suggestion from Member States.
    3. The Government's view

    4. This factual report makes no proposals and has no policy implications for the UK. We understand that the Department is considering its response on the nature of future reports.
    5. Conclusion

    6. This is a useful document summarising developments in maritime cabotage. Maritime cabotage remains a matter of importance to the UK. We wish to ensure that the Commission's continuing reports remain sufficiently informative, so we await with interest the Department's response to the Commission on the nature of future reports. Meanwhile we do not clear this document.


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