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 Full text 
Monday, 7 March 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Market access to port services and financial transparency of ports (debate)

  Jacqueline Foster (ECR). Mr President, first of all I would genuinely like to thank Mr Fleckenstein for his hard work, enduring work, on this dossier, but regrettably I do not believe that the changes have gone far enough.

It was actually a Conservative government in 1981 that began the process of privatising the ports in the United Kingdom, and therefore I will not support anything that would jeopardise the success that this has brought to the UK economy and on growth and jobs. I would also just like to assure an earlier speaker that we are not inundated with thousands of Philippino workers who are loading and unloading our ships.

Both Conservatives and our Polish colleagues and others will support a rejection of this Commission proposal. We believe that competition between ports rather than prescriptive regulation on ports’ internal operations is a greater driver for efficiency. The Commission’s proposal was overly-bureaucratic and does not fit well in our UK system of privatised and market-driven ports. Whilst we welcome some improvements in the Committee position, I am fully aware that both our UK port owners and trade unions remain firmly opposed to the proposal as it stands.

The present text could still interpret the open port duty in the UK as imposing public service obligations on private ports whilst we believe that the proposal on private and trust ports does not go far enough to guarantee their exemption from the regulation. Moreover, it is feared that the social provisions introduced by the rapporteur and others would gold—plate existing EU legislation dealing with the transfer of staff due to a change in the service provider as well as current ILO training and labour protection guidelines.

In addition, we are disappointed that the rapporteur’s compromise package did not include smaller ports from the provisions on market opening. It is for these reasons that I have re—submitted amendments which would exempt small ports from the regulation as well as amendments reflecting competitive market exemption in order to allow a fully competitive industry to be free to procure goods and services commercially, and lastly, an amendment which would exclude all private ports from the regulation. I hope they will have majority support, although my preference will be to reject the report.

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