In order to maintain appropriate scheduled maritime transport of passengers and goods to and from or between islands, Member States may impose public service obligations or conclude public service contracts on these routes, in particular in the event of market failure to provide such adequate services. Member States are bound by conditions and requirements set out in Article 4 of Regulation No 3577/92 on maritime cabotage .
Public service obligations must be imposed and public service contracts shall be concluded in a non-discriminatory manner. When financial compensation is granted for a public service obligation or contract, its amount shall be set in compliance with the EU State aid rules.
Public service contracts can only be awarded for a limited period of time (maximum 12 years) and on the basis of an open, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory Union-wide award procedure. The call for tender must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on public passenger transport services by rail and by road provides that Member States may apply this Regulation to public passenger transport by inland
waterways and national sea waters, without prejudice to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92. To this end a Member State has to make Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 expressly applicable.
Policy and other related documents
Communication on the interpretation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage) [COM(2014)232]