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EU questions Italy, Poland and Germany over safety of inland waterways vessels

The European Commission has yesterday sent reasoned opinions to Italy, Poland and Germany for failing to notify measures for the implementation of EU legislation ensuring technical harmonisation and safety on EU inland waterways.

Directives 2008/126/EC and 2009/46/EC lay down technical standards for inland waterway vessels required for a Community certificate which is valid on all waterways within the European Union, including the Rhine. Italy, Poland and Germany have two months to comply with the request.

The EU rules

Directives 2008/126/EC and 2009/46/EC lay down technical standards for inland waterway vessels. Compliance with these standards is required for obtaining a Community certificate, authorising vessels from EU Member States to operate on all waterways within the European Union, including the Rhine. They are necessary to guarantee the same level of safety throughout the EU as well as the proper functioning of the internal market for inland waterway transport.

Member States were required to implement the directives by 30 June 2009, after which they had to inform the Commission of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions enacted at a national level in order to comply with the European rules.

The reason for formal request ("reasoned opinion")

Italy has not yet communicated to the European Commission any national measures to transpose the directives. Poland and Germany have communicated only partial transposition measures.

The practical effect of non-transposition

Failure to transpose the EU directives means a potential risk that important provisions do not fully comply with EU safety standards. Besides, the proper functioning of the internal market for internal waterway transport could be hampered.


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