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Parliamentary questions
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26 April 2021
Answer given by Ms Vălean
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000216/2021

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92(1) (Regulation) provides for the possibility to impose public service obligations and award public service contracts (PSC) between a Member State and a shipping company to remedy a failure of the market to satisfy a public service need.

It is the responsibility of the Member State, in this case Italy, to determine the existence of the public service need justifying the conclusion of a PSC and to determine the scope of a PSC, which may notably cover transport services at specified rates.

The PSC must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of ensuring the adequacy of regular transport services to and from the islands. Although Member States have a wide margin of discretion in defining the need of public service and the extent of such service, the decision of Member States in this respect is subject to the Commission’s control of manifest error of assessment.

As stated above, it is up to Italy to determine the scope of the public service need for connectivity with the Egadi Islands, and whether the forms of intervention envisaged in Regulation need to be activated to compensate for the market inability to satisfy those public service needs.

As replied above, the Member State has competence to determine the existence and scope of a public service need, subject to the Commission’s control of manifest error of assessment.

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