European Union's Stance on the Rotterdam Rules
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In today's rapidly globalizing world economy, the importance of maritime transportation is increasing. Today, approximately 80% of the global transportation services is done by the seas. Therefore, the international laws and regulations that outlines the rights and responsibilities/obligations of the carriers and cargo owners is of very high importance for the smooth running of this global maritime transportation system. On the other hand, today, "door to door" and "multimodal" transport is getting widely used. However, during this type of highly complicated transportation, the rules and the applicable laws with regards to rights and obligations of the parties (carriers and cargo owners) greatly vary, and this creates several problems particularly about the carrier's liabilities. For offering solutions to these problems and creating world-wide uniformity about the carrier's and cargo owners' rights and obligations, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has offered alterations to the current international regulations in force (which are now generally called as Rotterdam rules), and, to this date, more than 20 countries have signed this new international agreement. On the other hand, as is well known, the European Union countries are important players as both carrier and cargo owner countries today, and their perspectives and decisions concerning the approval of the Rotterdam Rules is of very high importance for the future and international applicability of these rules. In this context, this article will first focus on the history and the legal structure of the EU, and then study the European Union's stance on the Rotterdam Rules, the impact of the possible EU legislation preparation on the same areas, and the existent steps that are taken (as well as possible future steps) by the European Commission with regards to alternative legislation creation for the EU seas.
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