The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations shipping agency, on Friday (17 July) agreed to voluntary proposals aimed at cutting carbon emissions, but environmental groups said it fell short of what was needed.
A package of legislative measures aimed at protecting Europe from maritime accidents and pollution looks likely to face a special 'last chance' conciliation procedure as the European Parliament yesterday (24 September) refused to give in to national governments' attempts to water down the new rules.
While international efforts to clean up shipping made significant progress last week with a compromise on cutting air pollution from ships, a meeting of European transport ministers today (7 April) could see EU ambitions to tackle maritime pollution scaled down.
The Commission has presented plans aimed at making freight transport in the EU more efficient and sustainable, through improved logistics and by promoting a more frequent use of cleaner modes of transport such as rail and water transport.
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.
A vote in the Transport Council on planned rules for beefing-up shipping standards and preventing accidents at sea saw member states confirm their opposition to Parliament's stance on issues such as ship inspections and assistance for vessels in distress.
New EU rules on the harmonisation of shipping standards and on ship operators' liability were cleared by Parliament on 29 March 2007, as part of a series of seven pieces of legislation on maritime safety to be voted on in April.
The atrocities of 11 September 2001 in New York, the Madrid train bombing in 2004 and the London Underground attacks in July 2005 have indicated terrorists' willingness to target infrastructures such as transport, energy and communication. On 12 December 2006, the European Commission adopted a Communication to improve the protection of European Critical Infrastructure (ECI) from terrorism.
In 2001, the Commission presented a White Paper proposing 60 measures to overhaul the EU’s transport policy in order to make it more sustainable and avoid huge economic losses due to congestion, pollution and accidents. A 2006 mid-term update attempts to re-balance the policy towards economic objectives.
The Commission will kick-start a public debate in May with a 'Green paper' proposing a comprehensive approach to issues as diverse as fisheries, shipbuilding, tourism, energy, environmental protection and maritime safety.
The Commission is launching consultations for an
all-encompassing approach to maritime and coastland policy aimed at
developing sustainable economic activity. Sectors concerned include
fisheries, tourism, energy and transport.
A technology platform of industry, national authorities,
regulatory bodies, research centres and universities on the
maritime industry sector has been launched to maintain
Europe's leading position in the industry.
Local authorities will be given more latitude to finance land
transport under a modified Commission proposal to be unveiled this
year. Global aviation deals, safety issues and road charging
remain high on the agenda.
Transport ministers have agreed that all
citizens should have the same ten-year driving licence
across the EU. Despite the Dutch Presidency's efforts to reach
a compromise on the Eurovignette directive, no agreement was
The EU ministers of transport reached a political agreement on the creation of a European Agency for Maritime Security, at the Transport Council on 6-7 December 2001. The ministers also adopted a Directive concerning the reporting formalities for ships arriving in and departing from Community ports.