Official Journal of the European Union

CE 81/10

Wednesday 5 May 2010
Strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018


European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018 (2009/2095(INI))

2011/C 81 E/03

The European Parliament,

having regard to the Commission communication of 21 January 2009 on strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018 (COM(2009)0008) (‘communication on the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018’),

having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2007 on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union (COM(2007)0575),

having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0114/2010),


whereas European ship owners make an important contribution to the European economy but have to compete in a global environment,


whereas structural and integrated measures to preserve and develop the thriving maritime sector in Europe are important and ought to enhance the competitiveness of maritime transport and related sectors, integrating the requirements of sustainable development and fair competition,


whereas attracting young people to, and keeping them in, maritime careers is an absolute necessity, and the level of training for maritime professionals in Europe needs to be improved through the impending revision of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers (STCW Convention),


whereas climate change poses the greatest challenge for all areas of European policy in the 21st century,


whereas maritime transport is a relatively environmentally sound mode of transport, which nonetheless has much potential to become even cleaner than it already is; whereas it must be involved, through a gradual reduction in the carbon footprint of vessels and port infrastructures, in the efforts to combat climate change,


whereas safety is of the utmost importance to ports, ship owners and seafarers on board and on shore; whereas safety measures must take into consideration protection of the coastal and marine environment as well as working conditions in ports and on board vessels,


whereas criminal attacks on European fishing and commercial vessels and passenger ships continue to take place in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia and in international waters,


whereas the European maritime industry is a world leader, its lead must be safeguarded in the long term and this is achievable only through innovation,


whereas decisions need to be taken at the right administrative level, which means at global level where possible and at European level where necessary,



Welcomes the communication on the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018;


Stresses the importance of the maritime transport sector to the European economy, not only as a carrier of passengers, raw materials, goods and energy products but also as the core of a wider cluster of maritime activities such as the naval industry, logistics, research, tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and education;


Emphasises that EU maritime policy should take account of the fact that the maritime transport industry faces competition not only within the Union but also, and above all, globally; emphasises, also, the importance of the growth of maritime transport, as part of the wider transport sector, both within and outside the EU;


Hopes that EU maritime policies will henceforth be designed within the framework of a ‘single European sea’ and, consequently, calls on the Commission to develop a European maritime transport policy as part of a common maritime area;

The market


Urges the Commission to continue to combat abuses of flags of convenience;


Urges Member States, therefore, to encourage the use of their flags and to support their maritime clusters on shore, for example by providing fiscal facilities such as a tonnage tax system for ships as well as fiscal facilities for seafarers and ship owners;


Considers that, like any sector of the economy, the maritime sector must in principle be governed by the rules on State aid, although State aid may exceptionally be permitted for specific cases provided that it is made available temporarily and in a transparent and comprehensible manner;


Considers that the guidelines on State aid to shipping, which expire in 2011, must be retained and extended, since they have contributed substantially towards maintaining the international competitiveness of European shipping, towards its ability successfully to overcome the often unfair competition from third countries, and towards maintaining its leading position worldwide, and have therefore helped to support the economies of Member States;


Calls on the Commission to submit the promised new rules on State aid for maritime transport in 2010, and further considers that the Commission should submit the guidelines on State aid to sea ports as quickly as possible;


Emphasises, in this context, that State aid should be used exclusively to support European maritime sectors that are committed to social standards, the promotion of jobs and the training of personnel in Europe, and to ensure the global competitiveness of European shipping;


Calls on Member States speedily to sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, known as the ‘Rotterdam Rules’, establishing the new maritime liability system;


Calls on the Commission to give greater consideration to maritime transport and its land-based structures during the forthcoming revision of the Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, in particular the multimodal linking of European sea ports with the hinterland;


Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a directive on reporting formalities for ships arriving in or departing from ports of the Member States of the Community (COM(2009)0011), in order to simplify, reduce and eliminate administrative procedures for European short sea shipping; calls on the Commission to continue to support short sea shipping with a view to substantially increasing the performance capacities of maritime transport within the Union;

Social aspects


Welcomes initiatives by Member States and the Commission to make maritime occupations more attractive to young EU citizens; emphasises the need to provide lifelong learning and retraining for seafarers at all levels, on shore and on board, with a view to strengthening the professional qualifications and skills of the workforce; advocates also that more information on the sector be provided at schools and that more traineeships be made available;


Calls on Member States, within the scope of international conventions such as the STCW Convention and the ILO 2006 Maritime Labour Convention, to improve and modernise existing training programmes with a view to further qualitative development of maritime colleges;


Stresses that seafarers from third countries must comply with satisfactory training requirements in accordance with the STCW Convention and calls on ship owners and national inspectorates to guarantee and enforce this, where necessary with the assistance of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA); reiterates its request for rapid ratification by Member States of the ILO 2006 Maritime Labour Convention and early adoption of the Commission’s proposal, based on the industry agreement, for incorporating key elements of the Convention into EU law;


Calls on Member States to encourage the use of EU seafarers in their own fleets and to create sufficient facilities to prevent the migration of seafarers outside the Union;


Welcomes the Commission’s suggestion that Member States should promote cooperation between European maritime institutions, and encourages Member States to harmonise their respective curricula and training schemes in order to promote and develop high levels of qualification and advanced skills among EU seafarers;


Emphasises that the social dimension and the working conditions of EU seafarers are closely linked to the competitiveness of the European fleet, and that it is necessary to facilitate labour mobility in the maritime industries throughout Europe and to ensure a fully functioning internal market without barriers and without unjustified restrictions on the provision of services;


Encourages the exchange of good practices in relation to employment conditions and social standards, as well as an improvement in living conditions on board vessels, particularly through the development of information and communication technologies, better access to healthcare, better safety standards and training to enable seafarers to cope with the risks inherent in their jobs;


Stresses that inspections must be specific and risk-based and must not generate any superfluous regulatory pressure on the industry;


Hopes that the capacity of technological developments to compensate for the declining availability of seafarers will be investigated, but warns against introducing untried technology too hastily;


Calls on maritime port authorities to improve facilities for seafarers on ships waiting at anchor in roadsteads, including facilities for easier transportation from ship to shore and vice versa;

The environment


Acknowledges that considerable progress must be made on reducing emissions of sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides, particulates (PM10) and CO2, and that this is necessary within the framework of the EU climate protection goals; stresses that the sector can contribute to the fight against harmful emissions and climate change and that public and private investments in research and development will be of particular interest in this regard;


Stresses that emissions reductions must be agreed rapidly and implemented with binding force via the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in order to limit disparities in competitive conditions, but that this must not prevent the Union from taking initiatives aimed at further reductions by the fleets of its Member States, thereby encouraging the other continents to become competitive in this area; draws attention here to the major disparities between short and long-distance sea shipping, which must be considered when reaching agreements in the IMO;


Calls on Member States to make more use – where possible in conjunction with neighbouring countries – of the option of designating maritime emission control areas, particularly for nitrogen oxides; emphasises that the establishment of further maritime emission control areas must not lead to distortion of competition within Europe;


Supports measures that encourage modal shifts towards maritime transport with a view to easing congestion on major roads; invites the Union and Member States to create logistics platforms at ports, which are essential for developing intermodality and strengthening territorial cohesion; stresses that international and EU rules must not hinder the efforts undertaken by national authorities in this regard; hopes to see the rapid and extensive introduction, within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean, of ‘motorways of the sea’, which will help to reduce both pollution and congestion in land networks;


Supports in principle the amendments to Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention to reduce sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ships, adopted by the IMO in October 2008; is concerned, however, about a possible shift back from short sea transport to road haulage as a result of the introduction of the 0,1 % sulphur limit, envisaged as of 2015, in the sulphur emission control areas in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea; calls on the Commission, therefore, to submit a relevant impact assessment to Parliament as swiftly as possible and by the end of 2010 at the latest;


Considers that all modes of transport, including maritime transport, must gradually internalise their external costs; believes that the introduction of this principle will generate funds that can subsequently be used primarily for efforts to encourage innovation;


Calls on the Commission and Member States also to work on alternative instruments such as the introduction of a levy on bunker fuel, preferably geared to the quality and environmental performance of the fuel, or the concept of ‘green ports’, where clean vessels are dealt with more quickly and/or pay reduced harbour dues;


Calls on Member States to work within the IMO to set and implement appropriate and globally applicable environmental standards;


Notes in this connection the breakthrough in inland shipping technology which has made it possible to reduce emissions from existing ships’ engines substantially and the possible use of liquid natural gas as a fuel; calls on the Commission to investigate whether these techniques can also be used in seagoing vessels and how their implementation might be accelerated;


Deplores the fact that the Copenhagen Climate Summit did not succeed in reaching any conclusions with regard to reducing emissions from seagoing vessels, but stresses that intensive efforts must continue, both in the post-Kyoto process and in the IMO, to agree global measures to bring about such reductions; invites Member States to make every effort to ensure that the IMO receives a mandate for the next international climate negotiations, with quantifiable reduction targets for maritime transport;


Calls on the Union to lead this process at global level, notably in the IMO, with a view to reducing emissions from the maritime sector;


Stresses the importance in European ports of interoperable technical facilities for the supply of electricity from shore to ship, which can considerably reduce pollution; calls on the Commission to ascertain in which ports these facilities can be utilised efficiently;


Stresses that, as part of its research and development policy, the Commission must give priority to innovation in the area of renewable technologies for use on vessels, such as solar and wind technologies;


Calls on the Commission to examine the potential for reducing and monitoring pollution by using intelligent technologies in the transport sector, notably Galileo;


Stresses the need to promote paper-free port and customs operations and to ease cooperation at ports between the various service providers and consumers through the use of intelligent transport systems and networks such as SafeSeaNet and e-Custom, with a view to speeding up port operations and reducing pollution;



Appreciates the adoption of the Third Maritime Safety Package, and calls on Member States to implement the package speedily;


Advocates stringent checks on shipbuilding, including on the quality of steel used and on vessel design and maintenance, as provided for inter alia in the amended legislation on classification societies;


Supports the change of course in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control, which entails replacing regular inspections with risk-based inspections, so that precisely those vessels which display numerous shortcomings are tackled effectively;


Calls on Member States and ship owners to seek to be placed on the Paris MoU ‘white list’; calls on Slovakia, in particular, to make an extra effort in this regard;


Calls on national inspectorates and other national authorities to cooperate more closely in exchanging data on vessels and their cargoes, so as to reduce regulatory pressure but increase the effectiveness of inspections; calls for the rapid introduction of an integrated information management system through the use and improvement of resources already available, especially SafeSeaNet; calls on the Commission to put in place as soon as possible an EU-wide cross-border and cross-sectoral surveillance system;


Is aware of the danger of piracy on the high seas, notably in the Horn of Africa area and the waters off the coast of Somalia, and calls on all ship owners to cooperate with government initiatives to protect them against piracy, along the lines of the EU’s successful first naval operation, Atalanta; calls on the Commission and Member States to strengthen cooperation among themselves and within the United Nations in order to protect seafarers, fishermen and passengers as well as the fleet;


Notes that the global approach to combating piracy cannot be limited to an international naval force but should form part of a comprehensive plan aimed at promoting peace and development in the area concerned; is aware, too, of the need for full and correct implementation by ships of the self-protection measures adopted by shipping organisations, through the Best Management Practices approved by the IMO;



Stresses that shipping is a global industry and that agreements ought, for preference, to be concluded on a global scale; considers the IMO to be the most appropriate forum for this; calls on Member States to make more effort to ratify and implement quickly IMO conventions which they have signed;


Acknowledges fully, moreover, the Union’s role in the transposition of international rules into EU law and in the implementation of and support for maritime policy, for example by EMSA;


Underlines the need to speed up the modernisation and expansion of port infrastructure capacities in anticipation of the expected rise in the volume of goods transported by sea; points out that this will require huge investments, which will have to comply with transparent and fair financing rules in order to ensure fair competition among European ports; calls on the Commission to ensure that the regulatory framework is coherent in this regard;


Calls on the Commission to consider its communication on the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018 and this resolution as the basis for the forthcoming review of the Transport White Paper;


Calls for a policy that promotes connections between ports and inland areas (dry ports and logistics platforms) in regions suffering from congestion, this policy to be incorporated into the TEN-T review;


Underlines the economic and strategic importance of shipbuilding, which makes it possible to develop and use the new technologies applicable to vessels and to preserve crucial European skills that are needed to build new generations of vessels; calls for measures to support innovation, research and development, and training, with a view to developing a competitive and innovative European shipbuilding industry;


Requests that it be obligatory in port modernisation and expansion projects to equip passenger terminals and new passenger ships with facilities for people with reduced mobility;


Welcomes the initiative to develop a campaign to promote best practices among passenger transport and cruise ship operators in relation to passengers’ rights;


Calls on the Commission to take into account during the current TEN-T review the recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018, notably those concerning efficient integration of the ‘motorways of the sea’ and inland waterway transport, as well as the network of ports of European interest as integrating nodes;


Calls on the Commission to draft a comparable strategy for European inland waterway transport and to coordinate it with the present strategy, in order to promote the development of an optimised transport chain linking maritime freight transport and goods transport on inland waterways;


Calls on the Commission to submit without delay its promised roadmap, providing essential details to supplement its communication;


* *


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.