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IP/08/159

Brussels, 31st January 2008

Port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues: Commission decides to take Belgium and Estonia to the European Court of Justice

The European Commission has today decided to lodge a case to the Court of Justice against Belgium and Estonia for failure to respect EU legislation on better availability and use of port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.

The Commission has decided to act against Belgium and Estonia for failure to transpose correctly a Directive[1] adopted in 2000 into their national law. The Directive aims at reducing discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea from ships using ports in the Community. To this end, it provides for better availability and use of the facilities designed to receive and treat such waste and residues, thereby enhancing the protection of the maritime environment.

In the case of Belgium, the Commission challenges the insufficiency of provisions on fees to be paid by ships in order to cover the costs of port reception facilities. The directive provides for such fees to be applicable to all ships whether or not they use the facilities, as a way to give operators incentives to such use. While Belgium has already amended its legislation following the Commission's reasoned opinion (IP/05/1258), the necessary changes have not yet been made as regards the Walloon region.

As for Estonia, the Commission's action was prompted by the inadequacy of essential provisions on ship inspections that are designed to ensure compliance with the Directive.

Member States should have correctly transposed the Directive into their national law by 27 December 2002.


[1] Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p. 81).


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