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Brussels, 5 April 2006

Opening up access to the airport services market: European Commission sends a Reasoned Opinion to Italy

The European Commission has decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Italy concerning the country’s incorrect implementation of a 2004 judgment of the Court of Justice on transposing into Italian law EU rules on free access to the groundhandling services market at airports.

The European Union has been gradually opening the market of groundhandling services such as passenger check-in, baggage handling and aircraft refuelling at airports by way of a directive adopted in 1996[1].

This directive allows Member States to take measures to protect the rights of workers, but these must not prevent the effective application of the directive. In a 2004 judgement, the Court ruled that the Italian requirement that newcomers entering the market are obliged to take over staff inasmuch as they gain business from the incumbent discourages them from entering the market. This subsequently limits the benefits of the directive such as reduced prices and improved quality of service. Italy has since then not fully complied with this ruling of the Court.

[1] Directive 96/67/EC

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