Wednesday, 21 May 2008

EU TFEU: Transport support and protection

Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union prohibits support and protection for transport firms or industries as it does today, with the Commission able to allow exceptions.


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Article 96 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is found in the consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJ 9.5.2008 C 115/86–87:

Part Three ‘Policies and internal actions of the Union’

Title VI TFEU ‘Transport’

Article 96 TFEU
(ex Article 76 TEC)

1. The imposition by a Member State, in respect of transport operations carried out within the Union, of rates and conditions involving any element of support or protection in the interest of one or more particular undertakings or industries shall be prohibited, unless authorised by the Commission.

2. The Commission shall, acting on its own initiative or on application by a Member State, examine the rates and conditions referred to in paragraph 1, taking account in particular of the requirements of an appropriate regional economic policy, the needs of underdeveloped areas and the problems of areas seriously affected by political circumstances on the one hand, and of the effects of such rates and conditions on competition between the different modes of transport on the other.

After consulting each Member State concerned, the Commission shall take the necessary decisions.

3. The prohibition provided for in paragraph 1 shall not apply to tariffs fixed to meet competition.

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In Article 2, point 72 of the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) laid out the specific amendments to Article 75 TEC, and in point 73 it dealt with Article 78 TEC. Thus, no specific amendments were made to Article 76 TEC. (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/68):

The TFEU table of equivalences tells us that Article 76 TEC first became Article 76 TFEU (ToL), but later renumbered Article 96 TFEU in the consolidated version (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/210).

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The current Article 76 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is found under Title V ‘Transport’ in the latest consolidated version of the treaties in force (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/72):

Article 76 TEC

1. The imposition by a Member State, in respect of transport operations carried out within the Community, of rates and conditions involving any element of support or protection in the interest of one or more particular undertakings or industries shall be prohibited, unless authorised by the Commission.

2. The Commission shall, acting on its own initiative or on application by a Member State, examine the rates and conditions referred to in paragraph 1, taking account in particular of the requirements of an appropriate regional economic policy, the needs of underdeveloped areas and the problems of areas seriously affected by political circumstances on the one hand, and of the effects of such rates and conditions on competition between the different modes of transport on the other.

After consulting each Member State concerned, the Commission shall take the necessary decisions.

3. The prohibition provided for in paragraph 1 shall not apply to tariffs fixed to meet competition.

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From the current TEC to the TFEU the ‘Community’ has become the ‘Union’, one of the so called horizontal amendments.

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This does not lead us to expect any mind-blowing innovations during the previous stages of the treaty reform process, but the aim of systematic comparison requires a look at each version of every Article.

Therefore, we turn to the European Convention.

Article III-139 of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe made minimal stylistic amendments to the current Article 76 TEC (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/54).

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Article III-241 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe adopted the text of the European Convention unchanged (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/107).

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Indeed, there is very little to say about treaty change.

Someone may want to reflect on the recurring theme of Title VI on transport policy and the framework of a common transport policy.

The words in Article 91(1) TFEU ‘and taking into account the distinctive features of transport’ are echoed in the later Articles. Aids, rates and conditions, discrimination as well as support and protection for particular firms or industries in the area of transport have been given their own rules, reminiscent of the general provisions for the internal market, but still different.


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Have others found anything to say about a virtually unchanged provision of the Lisbon Treaty?


United Kingdom

Professor Steve Peers covered the Treaty of Lisbon in a number of Statewatch Analyses. ‘EU Reform Treaty Analysis no. 3.3: Revised text of Part Three, Titles I to VI of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Internal Market and competition’ (Version 2, 23 October 2007) includes the current Title V Transport.

Peers highlighted the differences between the current Article 76 TEC, the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, but found no need to comment on Article 76 TFEU (ToL), to be renumbered Article 96 TFEU in the consolidated version (page 22).

The analysis 3.3 and other useful Statewatch analyses are available through:

http://www.statewatch.org/euconstitution.htm

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers a convenient source of brief annotations on Lisbon Treaty amendments in ‘A comparative table of the current EC and EU treaties as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon’ (Command Paper 7311, published 21 January 2008). The comment on Article 96 TFEU, Article 76 TFEU (ToL) in the original Lisbon Treaty, is short (page 11):

“Unchanged from Article 76 TEC.”

The FCO comparative table is available at:

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm73/7311/7311.asp

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The UK House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/86 ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Community’ (published 6 December 2007) wrapped up Transport in a brief comment on page 56:

“F. Transport

Title V, Articles 70-80 (Constitution Articles III-236 – 245) are on transport and are based largely on Articles 70 – 75 TEC, but with a change in the voting procedure to the OLP with QMV, except for Article 72, which replaces unanimity in the Constitution Article III-237 with a “special legislative procedure”. Other, minor, changes are Article 75(c), which adds the EP to those bodies to be consulted, and Article 78 (Constitution Article III-243), allowing the Article concerning German unification to be repealed after 5 years.

Present Articles 154 – 156 on Trans-European Networks (TENS) have been moved to Title VII and contain only minor amendments.”

The Library Research Paper 07/86 is available at:

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2007/rp07-086.pdf

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The House of Lords European Union Committee report ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: an impact assessment, Volume I: Report’ (HL Paper 62-I, published 13 March 2008) made no explicit reference to Article 96 TFEU.

The report is accessible at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeucom/62/62.pdf

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Sweden

The consultation paper of the government of Sweden, ‘Lissabonfördraget; Statsrådsberedningen, Departementsserien (Ds), Ds 2007:48’ published 20 December 2007, bundled together transport and trans-European networks under the headline ‘Transporter och transeuropeiska nät’ (page 280 to 282).

The text offers an overview of the coming Title VI ‘Transport’, but I found nothing on Article 76 TEC and ToL.

The consultation paper ’Lissabonfördraget’ is available at:

http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/09/49/81/107aa077.pdf

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Finland

The systematic Finnish ratification bill, ‘Hallituksen esitys Eduskunnalle Euroopan unionista tehdyn sopimuksen ja Euroopan yhteisön perustamissopimuksen muuttamisesta tehdyn Lissabonin sopimuksen hyväksymisestä ja laiksi sen lainsäädännön alaan kuuluvien määräysten voimaansaattamisesta’ (HE 23/2008 vp), bundles together Articles 76 and 77 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Articles 96 and 97 TFEU, in a brief explanation (page 206).

The Finnish ratification bill is available at:

http://www.finlex.fi/fi/esitykset/he/2008/20080023.pdf

The Swedish language version of the ratification bill ‘Regeringens proposition till Riksdagen med förslag om godkännande av Lissabonfördraget om ändring av fördraget om Europeiska unionen och fördraget om upprättandet av Europeiska gemenskapen och till lag om sättande i kraft av de bestämmelser i fördraget som hör till området för lagstiftningen’ (RP 23/2008 rd), offers the same explanation on page 209:

The ratification bill in Swedish can be accessed at:

http://www.finlex.fi/sv/esitykset/he/2008/20080023.pdf



Ralf Grahn