On 14 December 2016, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution approving a regulation proposal which institutes a legal framework concerning the access to the port services market and the ports’ financial transparency.

The rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, DE) affirmed: “After 15 years of discussion about European ports policy, we have finally found an agreement: existing port management models can be maintained and, for the first time, there is an emphasis on good working conditions, which are a major part of the competitiveness of ports and are non-negotiable for us”.

Financial transparency is the core point of the proposal, as it should facilitate the work of the Commission through the provision of a linear and coherent regulation on State aid. The mentioned rules apply to over 300 EU seaports in the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) and they include a requirement for ports to keep an accurate and clear accounting system of public funds they received in order to improve the transparency of the costs concerning, above all, the utilization of the infrastructures.

Moreover, in order to guarantee high quality services, the rules include necessary training for employees with reference to health and safety.

Although the regulation does not impose a specific management model for ports, “it does lay down conditions if they wish to set minimum requirements for services such as towage, mooring, bunkering and the collection of ship-generated waste, or to restrict the number of providers of these services.”

Finally, the resolution provides that both cargo handling and passenger services will be subject to financial transparency rules, but not to those on the organization of port services.

The rules now need to be definitely approved by the Council of the EU.