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Brussels, 03 April 2008

Freedom to supply services in maritime transport: the Commission addresses a reasoned opinion to Finland

The European Commission sent a reasoned opinion, the final step before a possible referral to the Court of Justice, to Finland today on account of national provisions requiring foreign shipowners to have a representative in Finland approved by the customs authorities. This representative is jointly and severally liable with the shipowner for paying fairways duties. These duties are charged for the service of guiding vessels through the fairways, especially through port access and departure channels.

The requirement that foreign shipowners designate a representative in Finland can result in additional costs for such operators and therefore make providing services more difficult for them than for a national operator. The Commission considers this practice to be contrary to the principle[1] of freedom to provide maritime transport services between Member States and between Member States and third countries.

[1] This principle is laid down in Article 1 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4055/86 of 22 December 1986.

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