The outgoing transport commissioner Loyola de Palacio has relaunched a proposal for the liberalisation of Europe’s port services.
Key dockers’ unions are threatening immediate and coordinated protests. Last November the European Parliament narrowly rejected a similar plan to open up the sector. Some of the dockers’ demonstrations then turned violent. The revamped proposal would impose common rules on the 400 most important European ports, governing who is permitted to do what. The principle that shipowners can choose who they like to load and unload their cargoes is the same.