European Union law relating to the freedom of establishment of shipping businesses and the registration of ships
A. Right of establishment
This chapter examines the twin but related issues of: (a) right of establishment of shipping companies and operations; and (b) registration of ships under European Union (“EU”) law. 1 Articles 49–55 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) deal with the right of establishment generally. It is clear, in the light of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“CJEU”) judgment in Commission v France (French Seafarers) , 2 that the rules on freedom of establishment contained in Articles 49 to 55 of the TFEU are applicable in the context of maritime transport and hence shipping. Thus, national rules of Member States restricting the right of establishment of shipping companies in a Member State to nationals/citizens or companies of that Member State are inapplicable vis-à-vis nationals or companies from other Member States; in other words, nationals in any one Member State are entitled to establish operations and register ships elsewhere in the EU on the same basis as nationals of the host Member State in question. Nationals of Member States are also able to vindicate their rights in regard to establishment in other Member State courts. 3
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