EEC plans to protect competition
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FROM OUR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
NEW moves being taken by the Common
Market countries to strengthen transport competition against undue featherbedding in the name of "co-ordination" will have to be studied closely by Transport Minister Barbara Castle if the British Government is sincere about wanting to join the Six.'
Proposals have now gone to the EEC Council of Ministers to regulate aids granted to road, rail and inland waterway transport firms.
This has been done under Article 77 of the Rome Treaty, which says that aids granted for the purposes of co-ordination or in return for "public service" obligations are compatible with the Treaty—but the Council has also laid down that the proposals should eliminate distortions created by various aids in the member countries.
Two sets of measures have therefore been proposed by the EEC Commission. First, the aids acceptable have been defined. Second, it is proposed to ban those which distort or
threaten to distort competition, either bef,:vee or within the member countries.
This prohibition, say Common Markt spokesmen, "has proved to be an indispensabl means of guaranteeing implementation of th common transport policy".
These new rules—if they are ratified--wil not prejudice the joint rules and methods to b laid down for the standardization of railwa: accounts, and for offsetting charges resultin; from public service obligations.
Importantly, the proposals provision* exempt aids granted by local authorities ti passenger transport undertakings.
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