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Thread: EU Competition Laws

  1. #1
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    EU Competition Laws

    I don't if any of you guys keep your eyes on Scottish affairs in the UK and EU, but at the moment the EU has ruled that the Scottish Government should let out vital ferry services to the Isles of Scotland out to tender to the market to satisfy EU Competition Laws.

    To give you guys a little back story the ferry services are operated by a Company called Caledonian MacBrae(CalMac for short) which is part owned by the Government, these services offer vital life lines to near enough every Island community in Scotland such as the Western Isles. Without these services the Islanders would be cut of from the rest of Scotland and this would threaten the very existence of already declining communities.

    Recently the European Commission ruled that the routes serviced by the state run Calmac should be put out to tender in order to comply with EU competition Laws, in effect the EU ruling would force us to privatise that service.

    I am normally Europhile and support even greater integration of the EU, but when it comes down to it I believe that these services should be run the state for the good of all the peoples in Scotland(I know a very out of date Socialist view but what the hey ). If the routes where given out to tender private companies would cherry pick the most profitable routes and leave vital but less profitable (or not profitable) routes by the way side
    Is there for honest Poverty
    That hings his head, and a' that;
    The coward-slave, we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a 'that!
    For a ' that and a' that,
    Our toils obscure, and a 'that,
    The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
    The Man's the gowd for a 'that.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Bear_Scot
    I don't if any of you guys keep your eyes on Scottish affairs in the UK and EU, but at the moment the EU has ruled that the Scottish Government should let out vital ferry services to the Isles of Scotland out to tender to the market to satisfy EU Competition Laws.

    To give you guys a little back story the ferry services are operated by a Company called Caledonian MacBrae(CalMac for short) which is part owned by the Government, these services offer vital life lines to near enough every Island community in Scotland such as the Western Isles. Without these services the Islanders would be cut of from the rest of Scotland and this would threaten the very existence of already declining communities.

    Recently the European Commission ruled that the routes serviced by the state run Calmac should be put out to tender in order to comply with EU competition Laws, in effect the EU ruling would force us to privatise that service.

    I am normally Europhile and support even greater integration of the EU, but when it comes down to it I believe that these services should be run the state for the good of all the peoples in Scotland(I know a very out of date Socialist view but what the hey ). If the routes where given out to tender private companies would cherry pick the most profitable routes and leave vital but less profitable (or not profitable) routes by the way side
    Sometimes leadership has to choose between common good at the expense of a few. What about regulation requiring all routes as a package? That would be assuming adequate political support from what are probably sparsely populated areas and probably the weakness in any such argument.
    These are my principles. If you don't like them I have others. ~Groucho Marx~

  3. #3
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    I can certainly sympathise. I`ve had a similiar discussion countles of times concerning ferry lines in the Stockholm archipelago (sp?).

    I can basicly see three options availiable where the vital lines are ensured for those who live out there:

    1: Maintain governmental ownership of the lines. This might not be feasible anymore due to EU competition laws.

    2: Do as Georged suggested. Auction the ferry lines as packageswhere a minimum ammount of traffic is specified. Subsidize the ferries in order to maintain profitability even during low-season. It`s politicly and economicly viable, assuming that the inhabitants on the islands are able to rally at least a minimum of media attention. Being forced to move from your family home, shut down schools, and kill off the year-round activity on the islands should spark a media frenzy and would quickly become a nightmare for any politician responsible.

    3: Let private firms provide ferry lines along profitable routes and during high-season. Let the government provide ferry lines along every other necessary routes and during low-season. This would create two standards of ferry lines. During high-season and along the profitable routes, the ferries will be competative, low priced and consumer oriented. The governmental routes will probably be slow and quite badly run. This is however not a big problem as the inhabitiants on the islands most certainly depend on the tourist industry generated along the profitable routes and during high-season. More tourists will be very welcome for every community out on the islands.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by georged
    Sometimes leadership has to choose between common good at the expense of a few. What about regulation requiring all routes as a package?
    An Island MEP has asked that the routes if given out to tender should be given out as a package, it is unsure whether the Scottish Executive(Government) will do this. Hopefully if routes are given out to tender, it will be as a package not as separate routes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie
    1: Maintain governmental ownership of the lines. This might not be feasible anymore due to EU competition laws.
    I actually think we should carry this option, defy the EU in this case to protect the island communities, I wonder could the EU force the tendering process by law ? or would the Executive just get a fine ?

    I was just thinking as well, what would happen if in the future a Scottish Government tried to re-nationalise the railways for instance, do you guys think that EU competition laws would stop any perspective Government carry out this re-nationalisation ?
    Is there for honest Poverty
    That hings his head, and a' that;
    The coward-slave, we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a 'that!
    For a ' that and a' that,
    Our toils obscure, and a 'that,
    The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
    The Man's the gowd for a 'that.

    A Man's A Man for A' That - Rabbie Burns

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Bear_Scot
    I was just thinking as well, what would happen if in the future a Scottish Government tried to re-nationalise the railways for instance, do you guys think that EU competition laws would stop any perspective Government carry out this re-nationalisation ?
    That would depend on the EU constitution, and I'm not familiar with that text. When finalized I will review it as it will definitely have financial impact on the US.

    In any case I personally feel free enterprise operates any entity in a far more efficient manner than nationalized services. Inclusion of all routes when putting a nationalized service up for a bid to be operated by private enterprise becomes contract language, a contract default clause for dropped service terminating the contract, not a fine. That, of course, is where politics and their inevitable self-serving corruption enter the picture.
    These are my principles. If you don't like them I have others. ~Groucho Marx~

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