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« The Crowding Out Effect | Main | What is Jihad? »

July 26, 2005

Comments

Neel Krishnaswami

Does Hungary have any big ports on the Danube? If so, do they make this regulation less nonsensical?

Abiola Lapite

"Does Hungary have any big ports on the Danube?"

Not unless they're sharing one with Switzerland, no ...

Ross

It's not all bad news, I bet some enterprising Slovak businessman could probably get a big EU grant to build a brand new Lighthouse.

Andrew

Isn't Budapest a river port? Or is it too small to require something like "facilities for ship-generated waste" / riverboats don't need such facilities?

dsquared

Europa press release here.

https://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/889&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

It says:

"Although not a maritime State, Slovakia does have an ever-expanding shipping register with some twenty vessels entered in 2005. It therefore has to transpose these Directives which impose safety regulations on the flag State as well as a system for the inspection or certification of ships."

And on Hungary

https://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/890&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

"Though it has no maritime ports, Hungary has a maritime register. Transposition of the Directive by Hungary is therefore needed in view of the obligations on masters of ships."

In other words, the EU is quite sensibly concerned to stop Hungary and Slovakia becoming flag-of-convenience jurisdictions for dodgy ships that would have access by right to all EU waters and ports. It is almost always the case with "haha stupid EU" stories like this that the actual press release has been either wilfully ignored or read with the utmost bad faith.

dsquared

(for what its worth the Swiss merchant marine according to the CIA factbook has 29 ships on it including one passenger ship and one petroleum tanker, so it would in fact need to make national law consistent with directives on maritime safety and as member of the EEA probably already does).

Factory

From Wikipedia:
"The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea. The river is easily navigable and so Budapest has historically been a major commercial port (at Csepel)."
Considering that the Danube is a bit of a sewer, it's prolly a good idea to get all the countries along it to erm, try to stop making it more of a sewer.

Abiola Lapite

"In other words, the EU is quite sensibly concerned to stop Hungary and Slovakia becoming flag-of-convenience jurisdictions for dodgy ships that would have access by right to all EU waters and ports."

Why couldn't the desired effect be achieved simply by insisting that only those ships registered with countries which actually have maritime ports can enjoy said access?

"Considering that the Danube is a bit of a sewer, it's prolly a good idea to get all the countries along it to erm, try to stop making it more of a sewer."

Fine in theory, but there are no *maritime* ports along the Danube, and that is what this legislation is about.

dsquared

[Why couldn't the desired effect be achieved simply by insisting that only those ships registered with countries which actually have maritime ports can enjoy said access?]

Because once you start making "bits and pieces" exceptions to the Single Market, you are opening the door for floods of special pleading of all kinds. It's actually much easier for the Hungarians to just pass the law already; implementation of a directive like this should not actually be such an onerous burden in terms of parliamentary time since all the important issues have already been decided and the task is only a technical one to replace the generic wording of the Directive with specific local legal terms. It's even possible to carry out "Italian implementation" - to just pass a one-line act saying "This act implements the XXXX Directive", although this is a stupid thing to do too much as you end up importing vast chunks of Community jargon into the domestic legal code with predictably disastrous results.

In any case, why shouldn't Hungary have a merchant marine? I might find it advantageous for all sorts of reasons (probably tax, but not necessarily; I might want to pledge it as collateral to a Hungarian bank) to have my ship registered in Hungary rather than anywhere else. If I did, then I don't see why I should be penalised in terms of my access to the Single Market just because somebody couldn't be bothered to pull their finger out and implement the damned directive.

David B

I dare say the Swiss have a gunboat or two on Lake Geneva.

Alex

I think the same legal principles apply for shipping on an international waterway (which the Danube is and has been since the Danube Commission of 1815) as at sea, although I'm not entirely sure. And there are indeed ships that come up European waterways that also go to sea (I seem to recall that Duisburg on the Rhine is the highest point of ocean-going navigation on that river, which would make all ports downriver and including the place maritime. I would suspect the situation is not dissimilar on the Danube.)

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