Shifting freight traffic to short-sea shipping, promoting innovation and raising the quality of jobs in the maritime sector are at the heart of the EU’s new integrated maritime policy. The Communication also aims to cut rising CO2 emissions from maritime activities and tackle environmental damage to oceans.
The Commission, on 10 October 2007, presented a Communication for an all-embracing EU maritime policy, which will focus not only on strengthening the global competitiveness of Europe’s maritime industries and protecting the marine environment, but will also seek to respond to key challenges such as climate change, energy security, migration and drug trafficking. Key aims over the next two years include:
- Reversing the decline in people ready to take up maritime careers and preserve Europe’s maritime skills, notably with a Communication, also presented on 10 October, to reassess with social partners current exclusions of certain maritime sectors from EU labour and social legislation;
- shifting traffic from congested roads to short-sea shipping;
- contributing to the fight against climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. Among the suggestions is a proposal to fully or partially exempt ships using shore-side electricity rather than keeping their engines running on fuels while in port. The Communication also recommends that the EU considers unilateral action on cutting CO2 if multilateral efforts within the International Maritime Organisation fail to deliver (EURACTIV 18/04/07);
- helping the development and expansion of Europe’s 1,200 ports to cope with Europe’s growing sea-borne trade and to create poles of growth, jobs and regional development;
- reaffirming the EU’s leading position in world shipping, notably by establishing maritime ‘centres of excellence’ and promoting maritime research;
- promoting innovations that cut marine pollution and prevent maritime accidents;
- exploiting renewable sea-based energy technologies, and;
- delivering new jobs and wealth through novel forms of nautical leisure and tourism, and;
- clamping down on illegal and destructive fishing practices in EU waters, which are causing the depletion of fish stocks and harming the sea floor.