EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 15 July 2002

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY – INSTANT NEWS ON TRAVEL POLICY IN EUROPE

EU INFRINGEMENT PROCEDURE AGAINST ITALY FOR VAT FOR TUNNELS

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 15th July 2002

The European Commission has formally asked Italy to change practices that are not compatible with EU rules on value-added tax. Italy has failed to charge VAT on tolls for major tunnels on its international road network. The Court of Justice already ruled in 2000 that member states had to charge VAT on user-tolls for roads, bridges and tunnels. But Italy has retained exemptions for tolls for the Frejus and Mont Blanc tunnels between Italy and France. And it has not offered any response to EU complaints until now. If the Commission does not receive a satisfactory response within two months, it may refer the case to the Court of Justice.

EU CLEARANCE FOR JOINT VENTURE ON CONTAINERS

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 15 July 2002

The European Commission has cleared the creation of a joint venture between German railway operator Deutsche Bahn and Contship Italia SpA, a port terminal operator and provider of transportation of containerised goods in Italy. The new company will provide international intermodal transport of containers between Italian ports and the premises of customers in Austria, Switzerland and Southern Germany. The analysis carried out by the Commission indicated that the joint venture would bring a new player to the market and that the relationship with the parent companies did not pose any particular concern. The joint venture will purchase transport and terminal services and will organise and sell them as complete packages. The Commission says the joint venture will bring a new player to the market for intermodal transport services, alongside existing operators such as Hupac, which operates a Europe-wide intermodal transport network, ECS Express Container Service, a provider of door-to-door container transport services, Intercontainer-Interfrigo, a pan-European network operator offering combined rail/truck transport services throughout Europe, and Alpe Adria. In addition, shipping companies such as Maersk Sealand or Hapag Lloyd are active in this market through the organisation and sale of their own intermodal transportation services.

EU PROPOSES BAN ON HARMFUL MARITIME ANTI-FOULING SYSTEMS

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 15 July 2002

The European Commission has proposed banning by 2003 the use of environmentally harmful anti-fouling paints on European ships, and by 2008, on all ships irrespective of their flag. Ships travel faster through the water and consume less fuel when their hulls are clean and smooth-free from fouling organisms, such as barnacles, algae and molluscs, and they are therefore coated with anti-fouling systems. But following the Danish Presidency’s signal of a strong line on organotin compounds contained in anti-fouling paints (see EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY 11 July 2002), the Commission has finalised its plans to prohibit these compounds used as active biocides on ships, so that they will be excluded from EU waters as from the end of 2007. Scientific studies have shown that organotin compounds, in particular TBT, used as anti-fouling systems on ships, pose a substantial risk of adverse impacts on ecologically and economically important marine organisms. They persist in the water, killing sealife, harming the environment and possibly entering the food chain. The move is also intended to encourage EU member states to ratify the new International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems. As long ago as 1989, the EU banned the marketing of these compounds on small ships in the EU, mostly pleasure craft. Extending the ban to all ships has had to wait until the recent agreement for a world-wide prohibition of organotins.

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