5. Brussels and Klaipėda: the Domestic Impact of EU Maritime Law
Both directly and indirectly, EU law impacts domestic legal systems. This also applies to maritime affairs. Even though Lithuania’s political and economic focus is oriented more towards the major cities, Vilnius and Kaunas, maritime issues, ranging from fishing to transport, tourism to energy, are (or have the potential to become) important aspects of Lithuania’s economic and political life. In this text it will be shown how the work of the EU can influence domestic maritime law. This will be done by looking at the interaction of the EU and member states with global international treaties. Among the many types of international treaties concerning maritime affairs, liability conventions are often overlooked by academia but are of significant importance for businesses operating in the maritime sector as well as for the safety of those who interact with maritime actors, such as coastal populations or passengers on cruise vessels or ferries. Using the example of the EU’s implementation of the Athens Convention, which regulates the liability for damages suffered by passengers on ships, this text aims at showing some of the potentials, but also complications, which can be created by the EU’s entry into a legal field which had already been regulated through international treaties for decades before the creation of the EU.
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