Members' Research Service By / August 29, 2023

Revision of the Flag State Requirements Directive [EU Legislation in Progress]

With 80 % of the EU’s external trade being seaborne, an efficient, safe, secure and more sustainable maritime sector is essential for the EU’s internal market.

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Written by Karin Jacobs (1st edition).

On 1 June 2023, the Commission presented a maritime safety package, including a proposal on a revised directive for compliance with flag state requirements. Revision of the rules is needed to take account of digitalisation, better inspections, improved cooperation between flag states, and alignment with international rules. Every flag state must ensure that its registered fleet complies with international standards on safety, pollution prevention, and working conditions, through inspections and surveys. This is considered the first line of defence in ensuring that EU flag states discharge their international law obligations with respect to ships flying their flags.

The current proposal would cover requirements for flag state inspections, based on International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules. The objective is to improve maritime safety and reduce the risk of environmental pollution, ensuring that EU flag states continue to provide high quality shipping services. The proposal facilitates information sharing between flag states on the results of inspections and compliance issues in general. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is to support this cooperation through revised training programmes for flag state inspectors.

The Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) is leading the European Parliament’s work on this legislative file. The Committee on Fisheries (PECH) will prepare an opinion.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/21/EC on compliance with flag State requirements
Committee responsible:Transport and Tourism (TRAN)COM(2023) 272 final
Rapporteur:Vera Tax (the Netherlands, S&D)2023/0172(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Ljudmila Novak (Slovenia, EPP)
Pierre Karleskind (Renew, France)
Clare Daly (The Left, Ireland)
Ordinary legislative procedure
(COD) (Parliament and Council
on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Publication of draft report

Stage: National parliaments

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