Over the course of the next few months, the content of this site will expand rapidly.
Among the topics we aim to cover, are the governance structures of EU maritime law, inland waterway transport, rules applying to seafarers, trade regulations, security issues, port regulations and competion law.
Maritime law, for the longest time of its existence, was national law on the one hand side and public international law agreed between seafaring nations on the other hand. One of the main novelties of EU maritime law is that it introduced a middle layer between these strata by creating supranational law for the countries within the EU’s jurisdiction.
Law is the result of lawmaking, by the legislator mainly and by the judiciary. In Union law, these are Regulations, Directives and Decisions adopted in a legislative procedure (Art. 288 and 289 TFEU) – secondary law (as opposed to the primary law of the Treaties) in the parlance of Union legal doctrine.
Art. 2(2) of Reg. 2099/2002 establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS) lists most of the legislative acts that would fall into the category of “Union maritime legislation.”
As secondary law also qualify international agreements duly ratified by the European Union. By virtue of accession (Art. 216 TFEU) they become an integral part of Union law (Case C-308/06 – Intertanko).
Art. 2(1) of Reg. 2099/2002 establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS) describes the notion of ‘international instruments’ in maritime law.
A nutshell description of the EU legislative procedure is provided on the European Parliament’s website.
EU maritime law mostly consists of decisions for ratifications (Art. 216 TFEU) and of Regulations and Directives (Art. 288 TFEU). Crucially, however, relevant Union law also comes along in the form of delegated acts (Art. 290 TFEU) and implementing acts (Art. 291 TFEU) adopted by the European Commission. These are quasi-legislative acts and executive acts respectively allocated at a tertiary level of rulemaking. They have significant importance for maritime law and are prepared and adopted by the European Commission with only limited influence of the EU co-legislator (European Parliament and Council) and the Member States through specialists’ committees (mostly the COSS) respectively.
Art. 290 TFEU
Art. 291 TFEU
Directive 2012/33/EU amending Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels
Directive 2012/35/EU amending Directive 2008/106/EC on the minimum level of training of seafarers
Directive 2013/38/EU amending Directive 2009/16/EC on port State control
Pending alignment proposals:
“Omnibus I” in the ‘Lisbonisation’-process (COM(2013) 451 of 27.6.2013)
“Omnibus III” in the ‘Lisbonisation’-process (COM(2013) 751 of 30.10.2013)
(not related to maritime law)
Case C-355/10, European Parliament v. Council, judgment of 5.9.2012
Case C-427/12, Commission v. European Parliament/Council, judgement of 18.3.2014
Case C-65/13, European Parliament v. Commission – pending
Case C-286/14, European Parliament v. Council – pending
The COSS (Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships – Regulation 2099/2002) is “the maritime committee of comitology” (that is, it has to be consulted) for Commission implementing acts (not necessarily delegated acts) in maritime law.
Written Question E-6149/2010 by Struan Stevenson: “Legislative delegation“ with answer by President Barroso of 11.8.2010 (OJ C 216 E, 22.7.2011)
Written Question E-004389-13 by Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra: “Questions concerning delegated acts and implementing acts” with answer by Commissioner Šefčovič of 23.5.2013
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