The European parliament is today expected to reject a second attempt at opening port services to greater competition. The proposed law, put forward by the European Commission, is opposed by the parliament’s left and liberals, and has divided conservatives. It is hardly surprising, as the bill is very similar to one that was defeated three years ago.
On Monday dockers protested violently in Strasbourg, damaging the parliament building, and injuring 3 police officers. Dock workers fear job losses from a ports reform. It would scrap existing monopolies on cargo handling , and allow shipping firms to hire their own teams to load and unload vessels. A wave of strikes in protest has also crippled ports in several EU countries ahead of the vote. The Transport Commissioner says the sector still needs to be opened up, and the EU needs a global approach, so he will be conferring with his colleagues to come up with a new plan. However, a new law could take two years to produce.