Official Journal of the European Union

C 110/14

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the ‘proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the activities of certain third countries in the field of cargo shipping (codified version)’

(COM(2003) 732 final – 2003/0285 COD)

(2004/C 110/03)

On 9 December 2003 the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under Article 71 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned proposal.

The Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 3 February 2004. The rapporteur was Mr Retureau.

At its 406th plenary session (meeting of 25 February 2004), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 102 votes to one with four abstentions:

1.   Commission proposal, legal basis


The proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision codifies Council Decision 78/774/EEC of 19 September 1978 (1) concerning the activities of certain third countries in the field of cargo shipping, as heavily amended in particular by Council Decision 89/242/EEC of 5 April 1989 (2) on the same subject.


The legal basis for the codified text is provided by an internal decision of the Commission of 1 April 1987 (3), as reaffirmed in the conclusions of the Presidency of the Edinburgh European Council of December 1992 (part A, annex 3). The codification exercise is commensurate with the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the codification of the acquis communautaire (4), i.e. it does not change the law while being subject to the procedure for the adoption of legislation in force at the moment of codification.


The procedure for adopting codified legislation in this case (cargo shipping) is laid down by Articles 80 and 251 TEC.

2.   Comments and conclusions of the EESC


The EESC has already expressed its views in various past opinions (5) on the substance of the matter dealt with in the codified text, which incorporates — without making any substantive changes — earlier texts designed to identify possible dumping practices introduced by certain third countries in the field of cargo shipping that harm the interests of Community operators, with a view to taking appropriate countermeasures, if need be. There is therefore no point in referring again to the substance of the matter.


The codification exercise — which concerns in particular provisions amended in the course of time and scattered between the original act and subsequent amending acts — seeks to improve the clarity and transparency of Community law; it will therefore provide additional legal certainty at the time of codification for the persons to whom Community legislation is addressed and who use Community legislation.


The Committee approves and encourage the work to simplify the acquis communautaire, and especially the procedures for consolidating and codifying existing legislation. This work contributes to good democratic governance by making it easier to understand the acquis communautaire and apply it properly.


In the present case, the codification proposal is based on a preliminary consolidation exercise carried out by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. An appended table indicates the correlation between the old and new numbers of the Decision's articles.


The proposed legal basis and legislative procedure are fully in accordance with Community law.


The Committee approves and therefore supports the codification proposal on which it has been consulted, and recommends its adoption.

Brussels, 25 February 2004.

The President

of the European Economic and Social Committee


(1)  OJ L 258 of 21.9.1978, pp.35-36

(2)  OJ L 097 of 11.4.1989, p.47

(3)  COM(1987) 868 PV

(4)  COM(2001) 645 final

(5)  Own-initiative opinion on transport problems in relations with Eastern Bloc countries (OJ C 59 of 8.3.1978, pp.10-13), opinion on the proposal for decision 78/744 (OJ C 269 of 13.11.1978, p. 56), opinion on the proposal for amending decision 78/744 (OJ C 105 of 16.4.1979, pp. 20-21), opinion on the proposal for amending decision 78/774/1978 (OJ C 71 of 20.3.1989, p. 25)