§ Q77. Sir David Price
asked the Prime Minister if, in the light of the declared intention of the European Council of Ministers to complete the internal market of the Community by the end of the decade, she will indicate what progress she has made in persuading the other European Governments to give the same rights of cabotage to British ships as the United Kingdom accords to theirs.
§ The Prime Minister
The Transport Council was not able to agree last December to the liberalisation of cabotage trade as part of the first stage of a Community shipping policy achieved under the United Kingdom's presidency. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is therefore considering options for redressing the present imbalance of access to cabotage markets, including mounting a case in the European Court of Justice. It is patently unfair that some European Governments should be able to reserve their cabotage trade to domestic operators when other Governments like the United Kingdom, operate an open cabotage market.