European Commission clamps down on Spain, Italy over port security

The European Commission is taking action against Spain before the Court of Justice of the European Union, because 20 Spanish ports have yet to adopt and implement the port security plan, the Commission said.

Spain has failed to transpose the Directive 2005/65/EC on enhancing port security which “aims to guarantee uniformly high levels of security in all European ports” because it hasn’t implemented a port security plan laying down provisions for ensuring port security.

The EU Member States had until June 15, 2007 to transpose the Directive.

The EC has asked Member States with the greatest delays in meeting their obligations, including Spain, to prepare national action plans with precise time-frames for conducting assessments and drawing up port security plans.

“The Spanish authorities have launched an action plan with all the relevant national and local authorities in order to implement, within a reasonable period of time, the provisions of the Directive in all Spanish ports. Despite significant efforts, the deadline set for the end of 2013 in the action plan could not be met, and the Spanish authorities still need to adopt about 20 port security plans,” EC said.

The Commission has also requested Italy to fully implement the Passengers’ rights Regulation for sea and inland waterways services/cruises to and from Italian ports.

According to the Commission, Italy has not yet set up a national authority to handle complaints from passengers and to enforce the Regulation. Furthermore, Italy has failed to lay down rules on penalties in case of breaches of the Regulation.

The Regulation sets out the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterways in the EU and it became applicable on 18 December 2012, date by which all Member States were bound by law to fulfil the above mentioned requirements.

The request has been sent in the form of a ‘reasoned opinion’ under the EU infringement procedures. Italy has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to apply the regulation correctly, otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Italy the EU’s Court of Justice.

Italy has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to apply the regulation correctly, otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Italy the EU’s Court of Justice.