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EU Transport Council

Volume 552: debated on Monday 5 November 2012

I attended the first Transport Council of the Cypriot Presidency in Luxembourg on Monday 29 October.

The Council reached general approach on two proposals to amend EU legislation allowing the enforcement of certain provisions of the maritime labour convention within the EU. The maritime labour convention was agreed in the International Labour Organisation in 2006, and ensures certain standards of working conditions for seafarers. The proposals will provide for enforcement to take place as part of the port state control regime. The Council now awaits the European Parliament’s opinion before making further progress.

The Council reached general approach on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the allocation of slots, repealing Council Directive 95/93/EC, by qualified majority voting. Although the majority of the text is acceptable the UK was unable to support the general approach on the day, largely because of uncertainty as to how a number of detailed points will be resolved. However, I was able to successfully preserve key elements of the text which safeguard the current secondary trading of slots in the UK and I was able to narrow down the scope for member states to restrict slot trading within their territory in certain circumstances.

The Council held a debate on a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on roadworthiness testing for motor vehicles and their trailers. I intervened to express the UK’s serious concerns about the proposal. I argued that it would impose substantial costs in the UK, with negligible road safety benefits. I highlighted that the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee have issued an opinion that the proposal was against the principles of subsidiarity. I also argued that the Commission’s impact assessment failed to provide convincing evidence of road safety benefits overall. The UK’s concerns were echoed by a number of other member states.

The Council reached a political agreement on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 on recording equipment in road transport and amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council. The political agreement is based on the general approach reached in June, and accepts some minor amendments proposed by the European Parliament. The proposal will now return to the European Parliament for a Second Reading.

The Council adopted a decision on provisional application of an agreement to enhance co-operation between the European Union and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol).