SAFETY | Imposition of English in EU ports ‘struggling’

EUROPEAN Union pilots have reportedly won a battle to prevent English being imposed as the language of communication in European ports.

The measure, which was included in a draft directive seeking to simplify port administrative procedures, has been dropped after negotiations between the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, the Europolitics website reported.

Parliament rapporteur Dirck Sterckx, who was in favour of the measure, has admitted that he has been forced to abandon the measure under pressure from the Council of Ministers, Europolitics reported. “At a political level, it was not feasible for the council,” he said, according to the website.

Sterckx and his supporters argue that the use of English would reduce the risk of communication errors between vessels in port. But the European Maritime Pilots Associations said the reverse would be true, because the operators of many port service vessels were not used to speaking the language.

Frédéric Moncany, chairman of the French pilots’ federation, confirmed to Fairplay that supporters of the imposition of English were “struggling”.

But he said “the moment of truth” would probably occur on 5 July, when the parliament would be asked to vote on the amended directive in full session.



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