It’s not just Italy in the EU’s eyes for beach concessions

With the Milleproroghe decree, the issue of renewal of beach concessions without a tender, which dates back to ancient times, came to the fore again in Italy, which was the subject of the warning of the European Commission, which initiated an infringement procedure against our country two years ago. The further expansion of concessions was described as “a rather disturbing development” by Sonya Gospodinova, Community internal market spokesperson. “The Commission has recently taken several decisions in the area of ​​seaside concessions or coasts regarding Portugal and Spain,” the spokesperson said, “which shows that it is a very important sector from an economic point of view and its modernization needs to be implemented.” and should also be encouraged by Member States”.

In fact, Italy is not the only country where beach concessions have been renewed without tender for some time, despite the so-called Bolkestein directive of 2006, which forced member states to liberalize state-owned beaches by opening them to the market. competition thus supports (at least in principle) the provision of better services for users. For example, in Spain and Portugal, concessions can be renewed for up to 75 years if certain conditions are met. In the first case, the maximum period was extended from 2013, adding the possibility of their succession to heirs by mortis causa (i.e. death of the concessionaire) and also between two living subjects.

Concessions in Spain are extended on the basis of environmental criteria and the protection of public property at sea and land, which must be respected in any case. In Portugal, the legislation provides that concessionaires who invest more than originally envisaged (and have documented their inability to reclaim them) may request from the State the repayment of these investments or the extension of the concession up to a maximum of 75 years. As for Italy, again against Portugal, Brussels launched an infringement procedure in April last year, followed by reasoned opinion last January, the second step of the Commission’s condemnation, which can then be referred to the Court of Justice. .

But the war against Italy has been going on for longer. The European Commission has repeatedly condemned our country for not implementing the Bolkestein directive. A first violation procedure was implemented in our country in 2009, and then in 2016, a decision was given by the EU Court of Justice instructing Rome to comply with European rules. Finally, in December 2020, the EU executive body launched a new infringement procedure, which this time could end with a financial penalty, noting that Italy has not yet implemented the Court’s 2016 decision, but has “since then further expanded the existing powers”. . Until the end of 2033 and forbid local authorities to initiate or continue public election procedures for granting concessions that would otherwise expire”.

Source: Today IT