EEA decisions on maritime safety and airport charges

Published 30-03-2012
Among the numerous legal acts incorporated into the EEA Agreement on 30 March 2012 were a part of the EU’s Third Maritime Safety Package and an EU directive dealing with airport charges.

The Third Maritime Safety Package was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2009 with the main objective of restoring the competitiveness of the sector whilst benefiting only those operators who respect safety standards. This safety-based approach increases the pressure on owners of sub-standard ships. Important steps have been achieved in both improving the effectiveness of existing measures to prevent accidents and managing the consequences if the worst were to happen.

Measures include a new system for ship inspections, the opportunity to conduct investigations into maritime accidents with greater ease and further requirements concerning flag state responsibilities. In addition, passenger rights have been strengthened through the adoption of this package as it includes modernised carrier liability rules, a mandatory insurance system and well-defined financial compensation in the case of lost or damaged cabin luggage, or physical harm.

The Directive on Airport Charges aims to clarify the relationship between airport operators and airport users. The need for such a directive arose from the existence of multiple frameworks in different EU Member States. By setting up common principles for the levying of airport charges at European airports, the Directive creates more transparency. It also prevents discrimination by prohibiting different fees for the same service; airlines receiving the same service at a given airport have to pay the same charges. A differentiation of charges remains nonetheless possible, as long as it is based on clear and transparent criteria.

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