Divided over the prospect of opening the activity to competition, MEPs postpone the issue until the next legislature

Opening of the port services market will have to wait: MEPs officially decided to pass the torch to their successors, at the 17 March meeting of the Committee on Transport (TRAN). The vote was initially foreseen for the next day, with the issue going to the plenary in April. Everything has been postponed, however. "We have shifted into election mode so it's better to hand the matter over to those who will follow," summed up the Liberal group head, Gesine Meissner (Germany). Urged by some to withdraw its proposal, the Commission was clear: it will maintain the text.

The EU executive is set on breaking up the monopolies that still exist in quite a few ports for the provision of services like pilotage, towing, refuelling and so on. As seen in other sectors opened up to competition, the subject is touchy and MEPs failed to agree on the types of services to be included or excluded from the text. Rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Germany) finds that pilotage and dredging (removing built-up sediments from the sea bottom in port areas) should be removed...

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