Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Eighth Report






COM (02) 203

Fourth report on the implementation of the Regulation applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime cabotage.

Legal base:




Basis of consideration:

Minister's letter of 5 August 2002

Previous Committee Report:

HC 152-xxxvi (2001-02), paragraph 4 (10 July 2002)

To be discussed in Council:

None planned

Committee's assessment:

Politically important

Committee's decision:





    1. In July 2002 we left uncleared, pending further information, the Commission's fourth biennial report on the implementation of Regulation 3577/92. This Regulation sets out the principle of freedom to provide maritime cabotage services in the EU (and applies also to EFTA countries). "Maritime cabotage" covers all mainland and island freight and passenger services between two ports in a single Member State.
    2. The Commission asked for comment on the nature of future reports, suggesting that they might become more qualitative and less quantitative. We were concerned that future reports should remain sufficiently informative and asked the Government about its response to the Commission.
    3. The Minister's letter of 5 August 2002

    4. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Mr David Jamieson) has now written to inform us of the Government's response. On 31 July 2002 the Government, in addition to welcoming the report, made four points to the Commission:

    • whilst recognising some difficulties the Government considers that the need for quantitative information remains and that it is important that future reports, particularly during the early years of implementing the Regulation, remain sufficiently informative on developments and trends in cabotage markets;

    • in relation to the Commission's concern about reduced availability of statistics on cabotage, the Government's last submission of data had been required before information from the Community's new data collection arrangements under the Maritime Statistics Directive (95/64/EC) was available;

    • in future the Commission should make use of the data now collected by Eurostat, allowing the Commission to focus on collecting directly from Member States any additional data required, and should align production of future reports with the timetable of data production under the Maritime Statistics Directive;

    • the Government collects a wide range of relevant statistics which it could make available to the Commission.


    1. We are pleased that the Government is urging the Commission to ensure future reports are sufficiently informative in quantitative, as well as qualitative, terms. On that basis we are now content to clear the present document. But we ask the Minister to keep us informed of the Commission's progress in continuing to produce informative reports.


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Prepared 11 November 2002