The fight to save jobs in the ports and shipping industries, threatened by new laws imposed by the EU, is being led by local MP, Bernard Jenkin.
Conservative Ministers have been working to reduce the impact of the new EU Ports Services Regulations, which are opposed by both the ports industry and ports unions. The new EU regulations are designed to tackle corrupt and inefficient ports in the Mediterranean, which are still owned by governments and local councils, rather than by commercial companies. However, the UK already has very efficient ports.
Bernard said, “This is absolutely typical of what is wrong with the EU. There is a problem in some other countries, and a new law gets forced through by the EU, supported by some countries like Luxembourg, Austria and Slovakia who do not even have a coastline, let alone ports! These regulations threaten to put costs up in UK ports, putting jobs at risk. What is the point of that?”
Bernard’s campaign against the new EU ports regulations follows his opposition to the EU Sulphur Directive, which was imposed by the EU to outlaw the use of certain fuels for vessels plying the seas between EU countries. DFDS Seaways gave this as the reason for cutting their service between Parkeston-Harwich and Esjberg in Denmark, after 140 years, ending the UK’s last ferry link to Scandinavia.
Bernard said, “Again, this looks like discrimination against the UK. I am all in favour of measures which improve the environment, but this is not going to reduce global sulphur emissions. It just forces ships to operate from non-EU ports”.