European Union diplomats negotiating new legislation on seafarers have limited the power of the European Commission to remove EU recognition from dormant providers of manpower.
Plans to allow the Commission to strike off third countries that have not provided seafarers for the EU-flagged fleet in the last five years have been watered down, the latest negotiating document shows (see attachment).
Whereas previously, such dormant providers would automatically be removed from the list, the current draft simply states that their recognition should be “re-examined” – which might well result in no action being taken.
The Commission is seeking to tidy up legislation to reflect the long periods sometimes required to complete the recognition process. To save time and money, applications for recognition should now be accompanied by an estimate of how many seafarers the applicant state will provide.
The draft gives the Commission the right to initiate – and therefore, to refuse to initiate – the recognition procedure. A decision on third country recognition shall be taken within 24 months of the submission of a request by a Member State, it reads. This is another change: the previous text spoke of 24 months after the Commission had adopted a “positive decision”.
While the attached document states that all EU delegations have signalled a “general scrutiny and language reservation”, some diplomats do not consider the changes to be major.
The Shipping Working Party met to discuss the draft’s contents on September 11.