18 January 2006

The Web
Business Today

Majority of MEPs opposed to port services directive

Today MEPs in the European Parliament will be voting on the controversial port services directive, where a large number already oppose the Commission proposal.
Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot believes the package meets the needs first identified by the Commission when it came up with its first proposal in 2001, to establish freedom to provide port services, reduce road congestion.
But all across Europe, unions and port workers are stongly protesting and opposing the directive.
Rapporteur Georg Jarzembowski said that if the Directive is rejected, there will be no European rules which would create planning and legal uncertainty. ”I want to say to my colleagues, try not to worry too much about yesterday’s strikes. We should not allow the actions of some to influence us.”
Speaking for the Employment Committee, Stephen Hughes said Monday’s violence in Brussels by port workers had been unacceptable but that MEPs should understand the frustration of dockers. “Self handling is ludicrous. It would create a health and safety nightmare. Opening pilot services to tender at the lowest price is ludicrous. In my area of Teesside, with its major chemical industries, it would expose the entire population to danger. The Commission should revise its proposal completely before bringing it forward.”

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