IWA Members’ Campaign on Recreational Craft Directive Makes Good Progress

Issue date: 14th November 2012

In response to an amendment to the Recreational Craft Directive which urged the European Commission to: ‘consider submitting proposals to harmonise watercraft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel.’ IWA asked several of its waterway supporting MEPs, including the Rt. Hon Sir Robert Atkins MEP, former Secretary of State, who is an IWA member and narrow boat owner to discuss our concerns with the Rapporteur.

IWA has also spoken in some detail with the Rapporteur for this Directive, Malcolm Harbour MEP, chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee whose constituency covers Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull. 

It is understood that the amendment was passed ‘against the advice’ of the Rapporteur but is hoped to be dropped in the subsequent negotiations with the Council of Ministers because, as IWA and other waterways supporters have already noted, it is entirely outside the scope of the Directive, and the topics covered by the amendment are the responsibility of individual member states.

Les Etheridge,  IWA National Chairman, said:

“This is heartening news. We understand that the UK Government position is that the Directive should not include any such recommendations, and UK MEPs and civil servants will be working to ensure that this text is removed from the proposed revision to the Recreational Crafts Directive during final negotiations.

We understand that the Directive will now be subject to negotiations with Member States at the Council of the European Union, with the UK Government playing a key role. The negotiations between the Parliament and the Council are likely to begin in earnest in December and not likely to complete until the end of March 2013, under the Irish Presidency of the Council, at the earliest.

He continued:

Whilst it is clear that it isn’t the intention of the UK Government to allow this recital to be included, it is there at the insistence of Toine Manders, the Dutch MEP, and until such time as it is dropped there is still an on-going need to ensure that UK MEPs are made aware of the clause and of waterway supporters’ concerns.

It is clear that the waterway supporters campaign is also having an effect. We would thank all those who have already contacted their MEPs and ask them to write again both to thank them in turn for their prompt response to this issue and to further ask that that they continue to monitor the situation until such time as we can be certain the clause has been removed and there is no risk of it being adopted."
Original article - European Union Amendment Threatens UK Boating (1st November 2012)