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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00126: David Stewart (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 18 May 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with (a) the European Commissioner for Transport and (b) European Commission officials regarding procurement regulations and publicly-contracted ferry services.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 26 May 2016

The Scottish Government and RMT union jointly wrote to Commissioner Violeta Bulc on 1 April 2016 seeking clarification on the application of the Teckal exemption to ferry procurement. The approach was agreed at a meeting in January 2016, hosted by David Stewart MSP, with the then Minister for Transport and Islands and RMT representatives following the “Keep CalMac Public” Motion, debated in Parliament on 25 November 2015. The Scottish Government’s view – and the view of previous administrations - is that the European Commission’s Maritime Cabotage and state aid regulations require Scottish Ministers to put these services out to tender.

The Scottish Government, EU and commission officials met on 17 May 2016 to discuss the process and timescales for a response. At that meeting, the commission confirmed a detailed response would require significant analysis by a number of Commission services including public procurement, State aid and commission legal services to arrive at a common position before they respond. We await their response.