New EU port initiative sidesteps sore spot

After several years in the making, the EU Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas has presented his port initiative, which aims to increase the efficiency and transparency of European ports. But the crucial confrontation has been postponed till 20146.

EU presents its so-called port initiative today, which will increase the efficiency in the European ports while also creating free market access to the ports and increased transparency about their finances.

The EU and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas have been preparing for a showdown with the ports for quite some time now. The Commission points out that there are highly efficient ports, such as Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Antwerp, while there are also inefficient ports, a list where ports in Southern Europe often feature prominently. For instance, a complaint is currently being processed by the Spanish government, a complaint that could be the first step toward a trial at the EU Court because the Spanish authorities - according to the EU - favors existing cargo handling companies. In 2011, Spain even approved legislation requiring financial commitments to the organizations that the current port workers are affiliated with.

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