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News European Parliament calls on Member States to join efforts to improve maritime safety. EPP responsible for sinking inland waters safety

Today in Brussels the European Parliament adopted six reports at second reading to boost maritime safety in European waters. The reports introduce a number of proposals on safety and environmental issues to improve port inspection and traffic monitoring, refuge for ships in distress, and liability for carriers in the event of accidents.

"In the aftermath of the accident with the Erika and the Prestige, we finally have succeeded in developing a quick and efficient system for giving assistance to ships in difficulty near our coasts. I hope we can find a quick agreement with the Council on these proposals. We need this system if we want to avoid a disaster like Prestige or Erika", commented Dirk STERCKX (Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten, Belgium) MEP (ALDE), the parliamentary coordinator of the entire package. The adopted reports will need now to be approved by Member States, too, whose meeting is due on the 8th of October.
In this view, "we fully support the efforts of the French Presidency to reach an agreement with the Parliament on all the proposals put forward by the Commission to improve maritime safety", Mr Sterckx added.

However, the European Parliament proposals were severely undermined by the majority vote of the centre-right MEPs, who decided to exclude rivers and inland waters from these provisions.
"Our aim was and still is to provide every traveller by sea and by river with the same levels of safety and protection existing for other means of transports, like cars or airplanes", added Paolo COSTA MEP (Partito Democratico, Italy), Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Transport. "To this end, for example, it is no longer acceptable to have different policies in Europe on the liability of carriers: we want compulsory insurance on all vessels entering European waters just as we do for automobiles. It is a pity that the EPP Group did not share this view and considered that travellers on a river or lake do not deserve the same safety as those travelling by sea. This is an unnecessary discrimination that has to be cancelled as soon as possible", Mr Costa concluded.

Contact information Neil Corlett; Paolo Alberti (email:
Phone: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84 ; +32-2-283 20 40 or +32-476-95 51 44
News type Inbrief
File link n/a
Source of information ALDE-PRESS
Geographical coverage EU
News date 24/09/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH