Procedure : 2006/2299(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0235/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0235/2007

Debates :

PV 10/07/2007 - 15
CRE 10/07/2007 - 15

Votes :

PV 12/07/2007 - 6.3
CRE 12/07/2007 - 6.3
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0343

REPORT     
PDF 459kDOC 360k
15 June 2007
PE 388.327v02-00 A6-0235/2007

Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas

(2006/2299(INI))

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Rapporteur: Willi Piecyk

Drafts(wo)men (*):

Satu Hassi, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Struan Stevenson, Committee on Fisheries

(*) Enhanced cooperation between committees - Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (*)
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries (*)
 PROCEDURE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas

(2006/2299(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper ‘Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas’ (COM(2006)0275),  

         having regard to Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Fisheries and the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0235/2007),

A. whereas the seas and oceans make a decisive contribution to the E U's geographical greatness and wealth, through its outermost regions, offering the EU 320 000 km of coastline and being home to a third of Europe's population, including 14 million living on islands,

B.  whereas marine-based industries and services, not including raw materials, contribute between 3 and 6% of Europe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the coastal regions overall account for 40% of GDP, and whereas 90% of the EU’s external trade and 40% of its internal trade is transported by sea, and Europe has 40% of the world's fleet,

C. whereas applying the Lisbon Strategy to maritime policies not only concerns objectives linked to improving competitiveness but must also have an impact on other pillars of the strategy, such as creating more sustainable and better quality maritime employment in the EU,

D. whereas the oceans and the seas in Europe contain major transport corridors that accommodate a considerable proportion of transport volume, whereas the oceans and the seas still have substantial potential in terms of worldwide capacity, whereas the oceans and the seas therefore not only contain important ecological but social and economic values as well,

E.  whereas shipping is responsible for about 4% of CO2 emissions worldwide, corresponding to about 1000 million tonnes, and whereas maritime emissions are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, whereas, according to an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) study, maritime climate gas emissions will rise by more than 70% by 2020 and whereas, in addition to CO2, large quantities of other greenhouse gases are given off by on-board cooling systems every year,

F.  whereas, in many maritime fields of activity, improved performances are driven by innovative ideas as regards shipping, whereas the European shipbuilding industry together with its wide network of equipment and service providers is the worldwide driving force behind innovative maritime hardware,

G. whereas shipping produces less greenhouse gases per tonne mile than any other mode of transport and technological advances constantly improve the efficiency of this sector, whereas there is a strong political will to promote shipping as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emanating from freight transport,

H. whereas the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that about 80% of marine pollution is caused by effluent from the land,

I.   whereas shipping is also responsible for discharging large quantities of various kinds of effluent into the seas, including effluent from tank cleaning, from ships' kitchens, laundry facilities and sanitary installations, ballast water and accidental oil discharge during operations, whereas various kinds of solid waste are also produced in the course of work on board ships and only a small proportion of it is disposed of at port reception facilities, most of it being burnt at sea or simply thrown overboard,

J.   whereas large ships now carry large quantities of bunker oil on board for their operational needs and in the event of an accident or incident this oil can and has caused considerable ecological damage, with few possibilities for redress,

K. whereas, according to official estimates, about 80% of accidents at sea are directly attributable to human error,

L.  whereas some Member States, such as Greece and Germany, have already introduced minimum quotas for European seafarers on ships above a certain size, in order to keep know-how in the country,

M. whereas at present when the vast majority of large ships reach the end of their life they are dismantled in shipbreaking yards in the developing world under unacceptable social and ecological conditions and whereas in most cases the sale of these ships to non-European buyers is a way of circumventing the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal under which these ships would be subject to an export ban as hazardous waste,

N. whereas sea water levels have been rising, thus endangering coastal regions, populations and industries such as coastal tourism,

O. whereas the diversity of sea and coastal activities requires flexible spatial planning by Member States and their authorities,

P.  whereas the EU is a world leader as regards the limiting of pollutant emissions emanating from other means of transport as a result of which European industry has become a world leader in innovation, and whereas the sustainable future of European industry in the long term can only be assured through innovation,

Q. whereas the EU has several agencies including European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (FRONTEX), the Fisheries Agency and the Environment Agency which undertake various marine-related tasks and whereas there are clearly no formal exchanges between them,

R.  whereas, since 2004, the motorways of the sea have been among the 30 priority projects of the TEN transport network but whereas very little progress has been made,

S.  whereas the oceans and seas are the basis of all life on earth and play a significant role in climate change, whereas an important aim of an integrated maritime policy should be to protect and sustainably preserve their resources, whereas a quarter of marine fish stocks are endangered and of this quarter 17% have been overfished and 7% have greatly diminished, whereas only 1% of stocks are gradually recovering, and whereas 52% of fish stocks have already been so overfished their numbers cannot be replenished and scientists warn that commercial fishing could collapse by the middle of the century (2048),

T.  whereas fisheries is a highly regulated economic sector and measures must therefore be put in place so as to ensure that these regulations translate into good practice and good results, whereas, in order to implement sustainability, it is necessary to take into account the many varied factors which influence the state of fish stocks, such as climate change, predators, pollution, oil and gas exploration and drilling, maritime wind farms, sand and gravel extraction,

U. whereas in twenty years' time the EU fisheries sector will have been transformed because of external factors such as climate change and human action and whereas, with evidence of such transformation already apparent in the case of North Sea cod, it is crucial to tackle effectively the causes of climate change,

V. whereas the sea and the oceans play a major role in the production of energy from alternative sources and increase the security of energy supply,

W. whereas the specificities of European outermost regions and islands, namely illegal immigration, natural disasters, transport and also its contribution to biodiversity must be acknowledged,

X. whereas a large part of the EU external border is maritime and its surveillance and protection implies increased costs for coastal Member States,

Y. whereas the Mediterranean and Black Seas are shared between EU Member States and third countries, the latter of which have less resources at their disposal to implement environmental rules and security and safety measures,

1.  Welcomes the Commission's Green Paper ‘Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas’ and supports the integrated approach to maritime policy, in which, for the first time, maritime policy areas such as shipyards, shipping, ship-safety, tourism, fisheries, ports, marine environment, research, industry, spatial planning and others are described and their mutual interdependence highlighted; sees this as an opportunity for the EU and its Member States to develop a forward-looking maritime policy, cleverly combining protection of the marine environment and innovative, intelligent use of the seas while ensuring that sustainability remains at the heart of maritime policy; believes that the EU has the opportunity to pioneer an innovative and sustainable maritime policy and that this requires that Member States act with a sense of common purpose; notes that Parliament will, in future, evaluate each Council Presidency according to progress made in the field of European maritime policy;

2.  Welcomes a Maritime Policy which calls for the integration of policies, of actions and of decisions relating to maritime affairs and which promotes better coordination, more openness and increased cooperation between all players whose actions have an impact on Europe's oceans and seas;

3.  Notes that, with responsibility for policies and actions related to the seas shared between EU authorities, national governments, and regional and local authorities, all levels of government should move towards a more coordinated approach, ensuring that their actions in the maritime arena take full account of the multiple interactions between them;

4.  Supports the principle of anchoring European maritime policy into the Lisbon Strategy in order to facilitate economic growth and jobs in a sustainable manner, based on scientific knowledge; stresses the significance of maritime transport in terms of transport volume and economic impact; encourages the Commission to revise existing legislation in the spirit and context of the Commission's Better Regulation initiative and the Lisbon Strategy; stresses that priority should be given to better implementation and enhancement, by the Commission and the Member States, of existing legislation; emphasises Europe's added value in practical initiatives, for example regarding better coordination and cooperation between Member States in order to avoid possible duplication or contradiction;

Climate change as the greatest challenge to maritime policy

5.  Highlights that, in view of the current discussion on climate change and the first publications of the Fourth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all those involved must be aware that action is long overdue and that the Community has just 13 years left to use new technologies in order to prevent a climate catastrophe; notes that, according to the report, specific scenarios concern rising sea levels which will be particularly damaging for coastal countries, heatwaves, floods, storms, forest fires and droughts all over the world; stresses that there is also a potential problem pertaining to climate refugees and other problems relating to international security resulting from possible disputes over common resources;

6.  Stresses that the EU must play a leading and pioneering role in combating climate change; emphasises that the Community should use its strengths in research and innovation and take the lead and act decisively at international level;

7.  Stresses that onshore and offshore wind power has very substantial potential for development and could make a major contribution to climate protection and, therefore, calls on the Commission to take action by establishing a section or coordinating unit for wind power and launching a wind power action plan;

8.  ;Highlights the fact that climate change is a reality; stresses that European maritime policy must play a significant role in combating climate change through at least three policies: first, the emissions from ships of substances such as CO2, SO2 and nitrogen oxide must be drastically reduced; second, the feasibility of emissions trading for shipping must be carefully assessed; thirdly, renewable energies such as wind and solar power must be introduced and promoted for shipping;

9.  Is concerned at reports which suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are higher than previously thought, representing up to 5% of global emissions, and are projected to rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years unless action is taken to counter the trend; points out that greenhouse gas emissions from fishing vessels are significant; notes the lack of progress within the IMO on this issue despite the mandate given in the Kyoto Protocol ten years ago; urges the Commission to propose legislation in order to effectively reduce maritime greenhouse gas emissions and urges the EU to take decisive action to include the maritime sector in international climate conventions;

10. Recognises that for Marine Strategy to be the ‘environmental pillar’ of the maritime policy, the policies need to be fully complementary so as to ensure consistency in the EU's approach; recognises that carbon dioxide storage in sub-seabed geological structures could provide part of a portfolio of measures for greenhouse gas emission reductions in the atmosphere and calls for the creation of a clear legislative and regulatory framework for the deployment of this technology;

11. Stresses that it is of the greatest importance for the development of islands and coastal areas that quantitative restrictions be placed on the discharge of phosphorus and nitrogen into the Baltic Sea, in view of the fact that the condition of the sea is fundamental to tourism and related business; there is a need for a clear, easily understandable set of rules and a manual clearly explaining the incentives and their consequences;

12. alarmed by the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems even in the most positive climate protection scenarios, calls for due attention to be paid to the additional vulnerability of marine environment to other stress factors due to these impacts; insists that greenhouse gas emissions from maritime activities must urgently be addressed by effective measures such as including maritime transport in emission trading and making greater use of renewable energies to propel ships;

13. Insists that the planning of development along the Community's lengthy coast, namely for urban development, industrial sites, ports and marinas, recreational sites etc., must explicitly take into consideration the consequences of climate change and the associated rise in sea levels, including the increasing frequency and force of storms and greater wave height; insists that no new nuclear installations be built in coastal areas;

14. Considers it to be of major importance that early warning systems be developed along Atlantic coastswhich are potentially exposed to tsunamis;

15. Believes that it is important, therefore, to coordinate a timetable for drawing up marine strategy action plans with important programmes at EU level, such as the EU's Structural Funds, in order to reap the greatest possible benefits of coordination with existing programmes; considers that the action plans should, therefore, be drawn up by 2012 at the latest in order to facilitate coordination with the drafting of the structural programmes from 2014; stresses that coordination with the EU's agricultural fund is of particular importance for those regions in which agriculture is responsible for a significant portion of discharges into the sea;

Better European shipping with better European ships

16. Stresses that sea transport is an essential part of the world’s economic system, and that goods transported by ship is at present one of the least environmentally damaging methods of transport; considers, nevertheless, that shipping has a considerable environmental cost, and therefore a sustainable balance between environmental protection and economic use of Europe’s oceans is essential, whereby guaranteeing sustainability must be an absolute priority; calls on the Commission to safeguard this balance when designing its (future) proposals on maritime and port policy;

17. Stresses that promoting maritime transport as a sustainable mode of transport requires the development and expansion of ports and port areas; notes that the Habitats(1) and Wild Birds(2) Directives only consider its possible adverse impact at local level, without taking account of its positive impact on the environment; calls, therefore, for a correct and extensive assessment of all the environmental benefits of port projects, weighing them against a possible loss of habitat at local level, and compensation for such loss, on the basis of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive; calls on the Commission to draw up guidelines for the specific purpose of integrating the environmental benefits of maritime transport and port development at EU level at an earlier stage of the decision-making procedure provided for in Article 6 than is permitted by the exceptional provisions laid down in Article 6(4); calls on the Commission, furthermore, when revising the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, to take account not only of the ecological but also of the economic impact of these directives on the environment;

18. Believes that European maritime policy should seek to preserve and strengthen the position of European maritime industries and specialised activities and avoid policies that promote the movement towards third-country flags, which endanger the security and protection of the seas and impoverish the European economy; emphasises that the protection of the marine environment is better achieved through international regulations applying to all ships regardless of flag and port of call;

19. Considers that an innovative, competitive European maritime manufacturing industry is crucial to sustainable growth according to the Lisbon Strategy; underlines that, considering increasing production capacities elsewhere, positive developments as regards European shipyards in recent years should not lead to complacency and therefore calls for further efforts to strengthen competitiveness and to secure a level playing field;

20. Urges the Commission to provide support at WTO level for European shipyards, which are continually exposed to unfair competition from Asian shipbuilders;

21. Welcomes the Commission working document "LeaderSHIP 2015 Progress Report" (COM(2007)0220) and emphasises in particular the success of the new comprehensive approach to industrial policy which LeaderSHIP2015 pioneered as one of the first sectoral initiatives;

22. Stresses that better (transborder) coordination and cooperation between sea ports, and a more balanced European-wide sharing of responsibility between ports can contribute considerably to avoiding unsustainable land transport;

23. Sees the EU’s role as a leader on stricter limits not as a restriction but as an opportunity for European industry; in this connection, calls on the Member States and Community to step up their efforts to promote research and development of more efficient and cleaner technologies for ships and ports;

24. Recognises that ship-source air pollutant emissions will exceed those from land-based sources in the foreseeable future; recalls its request in the context of the Thematic Strategy on Air Quality for the Commission and the Member States to take urgent measures to cut emissions from the shipping sector and for the Commission to come forward with proposals:

- to establish NOx emission standards for ships using EU ports,

- to designate the Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic as Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) under the MARPOL Convention,

- to lower the maximum allowed sulphur content in marine fuels used in SECAs by passenger vessels from 1.5% to 0.5%,

- to introduce fiscal measures such as taxes or charges on SO2 and NOx emissions from ships,

- to encourage the introduction of differentiated port and fairway charges favouring vessels with low SO2 and NOx emissions,

- to encourage the use of shore-side electricity by ships when in port,

- for an EU directive on the quality of marine fuels;

25. Sees huge potential for reducing the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions in the maritime transport sector, in particular through tax incentives for the use of this type of fuel and greater incentives for R&D and, inter alia, by promoting the use of, and further research into, biofuels and stepping up the use of wind energy for ship propulsion; stresses, however, the need for mandatory environmental and social certification of biofuels and that their full life-cycle, climate efficiency and CO2 balance is undisputed;

26. Believes that efforts to prevent and respond to pollution caused by ships should not only be confined to oil pollution but should apply to all types of pollution, especially those caused by hazardous and noxious substances; notes, in this regard, that the role played by EMSA is essential and that it should gradually take on more tasks, although these should always be additional to the tasks carried out by Member States in the field of pollution prevention and response; considers it therefore necessary to guarantee appropriate financial security for the funding of the tasks entrusted EMSA;

27. Welcomes the CleanSeaNet operationing system for monitoring and detecting pollution emanating from ships which will help coastal states locate and identify polluters in geographic areas under their jurisdiction; calls for Member States to promptly transpose Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements(3);

28. Acknowledges the Commission's activities in the field of ship and maritime safety following the Erika and Prestige disasters the main result of which has been the packages of measures on maritime safety;

29. Urges the ‘Transport’ Council to discuss the ‘Third maritime safety’ package very soon and to take a decision, together with Parliament, so that there is no question of a credibility gap;

30. Urges the Commission to reinforce all measures relating to civil and criminal liability in the event of an accident or incident, in keeping with the principles of subsidiarity and the division of powers and with the international legal framework;

31. Recalls Parliament's decisions on improving safety at sea (MARE committee) and calls on the Commission to take more account of the human factor in its next steps;

32. Notes with concern that the Baltic Sea is currently one of the most polluted seas in the world and reminds the Commission of its previous call for the drafting of a recommendation on an EU strategy for the Baltic, proposing measures to improve the environmental condition of the Baltic Sea, particularly to reduce the eutrophication of the Baltic and to prevent the discharge of oil and other toxic and damaging substances into the sea; recalls that existing instruments for cooperation such as INTERREG programmes should be fully exploited when implementing interregional projects to improve the state of the Baltic environment;

33. Calls for the establishment of special zones within environmentally sensitive and navigationally difficult areas of the Baltic Sea, particularly the Kadet Trench, the Skagerrak/Kattegat, the Great Belt and the Sound, which ocean-going vessels, in particular oil tankers, may no longer navigate without a pilot, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to initiate the drawing up of necessary measures in the competent international bodies, in particular the IMO;

34. Reiterates its call to the Commission to submit a proposal to the Council and Parliament as soon as possible to ensure that bunker oil for engine fuel in new ships is also stored in safer, double-hull tanks since freight or container ships often contain heavy fuel as engine fuel in their bunkers the quantity of which may considerably exceed the cargoes of smaller oil tankers; considers that, before submitting such a proposal, the Commission should ascertain whether or not the existing IMO rules laid down in MEPC Resolution 141(54) are sufficient to guarantee the safe transport of bunker oil used as fuel;

35. Urges the Commission to tighten vigilance with regard to the application of the rules on the mandatory use of double hulls;

36. Calls for the highest safety standards for all ships calling at European ports; in this connection, calls for Europe to play a leading role; is aware that these requirements cannot be extended to all ships in the 200-mile zone;

37. Is concerned that fewer and fewer well-trained young Europeans are working as officers and crew on European ships, which gives rise to fears of a massive brain drain; takes the view that better working conditions, in keeping with the provisions laid down by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the IMO, can help to encourage more Europeans to take up a career at sea;

38. Urges the Member States and maritime sector stakeholders to review career plans and lifelong learning opportunities in the maritime sector, firstly in order to enable skills and experience acquired to be put into practice and, secondly, with a view to introducing systems for switching between sea- and land-based occupations so as to preserve know-how and make career prospects more attractive;

39. Believes that, as suggested in the abovementioned Green Paper, the exclusion of seafarers from social directives should be reviewed by the social partners;

40. Calls on the Member States and ship-owners to enter a partnership for training quality seafarers and officers, as is successfully being done in Denmark, and, through their education and training policies, to increase their knowledge of and enthusiasm for maritime heritage and provide additional incentives for activities and professions linked to the sea, calls on the Commission to create the requisite conditions to support these partnerships with finance and advice;

41. Calls for the introduction of a European quality label for ships, in line with the IMO white list classification scheme, meeting the latest safety standards and social conditions, which will give these ships favoured treatment with regard to port state controls;

42. Notes the scarcity of expert and well-trained professionals facing the industry; suggests that special training courses for skippers and crews of fishing vessels be developed in order to provide a basic understanding of the science that affects their industry, including providing an understanding of the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability as an aid to the progressive development of an ecosystem-based approach to successful fisheries management;

43. Urges the Commission to create vocational retraining plans for fishermen, encouraging them to focus on new practices that promote the use of knowledge relating to work at sea; points to the offshore aquaculture and eco-tourism sectors as being among the possible targets;

44. Points to the importance of improving the image of the fisheries sector, which currently suffers from a lack of respect; is of the opinion that improved health and safety conditions on vessels, and better pay and conditions for crews, can only be achieved in a sustainable and profitable industry and that more resources must be devoted to research and education aimed at improving knowledge and skills;

45. Notes that the creation of conditions ensuring hygiene, safety and comfort for workers in the fishing industry, both for fishermen themselves and for people working in sectors upstream and downstream, is a key objective of a policy for the seas and oceans;

46. Considers that, compared to legislation, the concept of corporate social responsibility is of limited value in the context of conserving the maritime environment, and that therefore a proper legislative base must continue to underpin the Community programme for environmental conservation, to be strengthened by voluntary actions undertaken by companies wishing to demonstrate their responsible behaviour;

47.  Condemns the conditions under which ships are currently dismantled in the developing world and calls on the Commission to draw up proposals to improve working conditions in the docks where the ships in question are dismantled and to explore all the possibilities in the area of criminal law made available by the Court of Justice with the ‘polluter pays’ principle applying in the maritime sector as is the case in other sectors; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to develop a proposal for a ‘green passport’ to be carried with ships’ papers, listing all the toxic substances they contain; believes that the Community should address the ship recycling issue by concluding a mandatory international Convention - foreseen for 2008 or 2009 - and in the meantime follow the IMO guidelines;

48. Considers that shipyards and marine equipment industries in the Union have managed to remain competitive by investing in innovative products and processes and by creating knowledge-based niche markets; believes that a European maritime strategy should create the conditions which are conducive to maintaining the Union’s leading position in these markets, for example by promoting the development of maritime technology transfer mechanisms, considers that it is necessary pay close attention to any anticompetitive practices in the world markets, reacting should they occur;

49. Invites Member States to take full advantage of the Community state aid guidelines concerning employment costs and taxation, with particular emphasis on the tonnage tax system; considers that the leaderSHIP 2015 has had a positive impact, and that the maritime sector must be kept eligible for state aid in order to promote innovation;

50. Calls for the trans-shipment of oil or other toxic cargoes at sea to be limited in future to carefully designated zones under surveillance so as to facilitate the identification of who is liable in the event of a discharge of pollutants into the sea; notes that shipping contributes to marine pollution, and potentially to the disturbance of ecosystems through the introduction, into the seas and oceans, of alien species which are found in discharged ballast water and the use of chemicals in anti-fouling paints that affect the hormones of fish; emphasises that oil slicks are also a major maritime hazard;

51. Calls for training and information to be provided by compiling, analysing, and disseminating best practice, techniques, instruments for monitoring tank-emptying and innovation to combat pollution by oil and noxious and hazardous substances, and for technical solutions, using inspection and satellite-based surveillance, to be developed for the purpose of monitoring accidental or deliberate spillages;

Better European coastal policy including better European ports

52. Considers that the participation of regional and local stakeholders is essential for the success of a European maritime policy; therefore welcomes the fact that European coastal regions are developing ever closer mutual cooperation and networks;

53. Takes the view that the Commission, the Member States and the regions should make a particular effort to increase awareness of maritime topics; believes this could include, for example, recognition of good examples of tourism projects, environmentally sound shipping or particular contributions to education about the sea; in this regard, proposes the design of a EU “label” and that prizes be awarded to exemplary maritime regions as a way of promoting best practice; underlines the significance of its initiative, which should be promoted by the Commission, regarding the establishment of a European Maritime Day in celebration of the maritime sector; stresses that pilot courses on ‘maritime education’ should be introduced in secondary schools with the support of the Commission;

54. Encourages regions and Member States to use cohesion policy instruments in order to achieve further integration in maritime and coastal policy, promote entrepreneurship and set up SMEs, thus helping to overcome the problem of seasonal employment; calls, in particular, for the creation of a network of regions of maritime excellence in the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective;

55. Underlines the fundamental importance of ports and the role they play as funnels for international trade, as economic drivers and job creators for coastal regions and as transit centres for fisheries, as well as being essential security-control points;

56. Calls on the Member States and the Commission, in view of the air pollution in many port cities and regions, to significantly to increase incentives for land-based power supplies to ships in port when this is cost-effective and results in environmental benefits; calls, therefore, for Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity(4) to be revised in order that those Member States taking advantage of tax-free bunker oil ,as provided for by Article 14 of that Directive, would be obliged to exempt land-based electricity from tax to the same extent;

57. Calls for a revision of Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues(5), so that all ships calling at a Member State's ports would discharge 100% of their solid and liquid waste;

58. Considers that goods transport bottlenecks are more likely to occur in future in the connections between ports and European land transport networks, rather than in the reception capacities of ports; considers that, if the best use is to be made of the maritime transport possibilities, European ports must have the best possible hinterland connections available to them, and therefore calls for them to be developed where necessary, giving priority to more environmentallyfriendly modes of transport, such as rail and inland waterways;

59.  Believes, given the huge importance of waterborne transport, both within the internal market and between the Union's and its trading partners, that a new EU maritime strategy should contain a port strategy allowing ports to develop in response to market developments and demand while respecting relevant legislation with a view to establishing a favourable climate for investment in order to facilitate sufficient port capacity to accommodate increasing maritime cargo traffic flows; insists that such a strategy be developed in coordination with the current debate on a European Ports Policy, in order to avoid the duplication of work;

60. Notes that Europe is a popular region for yachting tourism, cruiser tourism and sub-aqua tourism; encourages the maritime regions to invest in their marina infrastructure and other related infrastructures in order to benefit from this growing market whilst ensuring the protection of habitats, species and marine ecosystems in general; calls on the Commission to help set harmonised standards for facilities and technical equipment so as to ensure a high level of service quality throughout the Union;

61. Underlines the importance of the contribution that territorial cooperation and coastal regions networking can make to a holistic maritime policy through the promotion of joint strategies for the competitiveness of coastal zones;

62. Favours the creation of more maritime clusterswhich take advantage of the positive experience gained and good practices already being carried out in this domain and believes that these examples should be followed and promoted; calls on the Member States to take measures to enhance the economic competitiveness of coastal regions by encouraging research, the creation of centres of maritime excellence and technological development and innovation as well as inter-business cooperation (networks, clusters, public partners) and the provision of improved support services aimed at reducing the dependence of those regions on a very limited number of (traditional) economic activities;

63. Reconfirms its position of 14 November 2006 on the Marine Strategy Directive(6) and in particular as regards the prohibitions and/or criteria for systematic/intentional disposal of any solid materials, liquid or gas into the water column, seabed/subsoil; furthermore considers that any storage of carbon dioxide in the seabed and subsoil should be subject to authorisation pursuant to international law, a prior environmental impact assessment in accordance with Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (7) and relevant international conventions, as well as regular monitoring and controls;

64. Is thus convinced that renewable resources of the marine environment can and should be used sustainably so that their exploitation, and the resulting economic benefits, can continue in the long term; stresses the need, therefore, for the various policies concerned to adapt to the requirements of a healthy marine environment; calls in this connection also for greater use of onshore and offshore wind power in order to exploit sustainably its potential from the point of view of employment and economic policy;

65. Insists, however, that coastal zone management must have, as one of its core objectives, the conservation of the marine environment, rather than setting aside a few sample areas as a token gesture to conservation efforts, particularly in the light of Recommendation 2002/413/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe(8);

66. In this context, agrees with the Commission that there is a natural limit to the amount of human activity, in terms of population density and industrial activity, that coastal zones can support without severe and possibly irreversible environmental degradation; supports, therefore, the Commission's view that a comprehensive study is needed in order to be better able to identify these limits and to forecast and plan accordingly;

67. Points out that three-dimensional mapping of the seabed will be of immense value not only to the fishing industry but also to the energy sector, conservationists and even defence interests; considers that the significant commercial value of such maps is evident and thus they may help to solve the question of funding for this activity; believes improved data across the maritime sector could involve better weather forecasting, information on anticipated wave heights and a range of issues which would enhance safety and development;

68. Calls for the development of all necessary measures to prevent and manage the risks of damage to coastal areas by natural disasters such as floods, erosion, storms and tsunamis; further stresses the need to adopt Community measures in order to deal with dangers to European coastal ecosystems, engendered by various human activities;

69. Considers that building sea defences to protect against rising sea levels can lead to a loss of habitat, while the rise itself causes the 'coastal squeeze' of salt marshes and mudflats and the erosion of sand dunes, all of which are rich habitats for plants and animals; calls for a long-term strategy to maintain coastal defences, protect against rising sea levels and minimise habitat loss;

70. Encourages the development of new networks for the implementation of projects and activities in the form of partnerships between the private sector, NGOs, local authorities and regions, with a view to achieving greater dynamism, innovation and efficiency and improving the quality of life in coastal areas;

71. Stresses the importance, within a holistic maritime policy, of developing and implementing an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) policy covering the multiple uses of the coastal zones and their impact on development policies; calls, in this context, for greater harmonisation of relevant national legislation with Community law;

72. Stresses the need to make coastal regions more attractive not just as places of leisure but as places in which to live, work and invest, by improving accessibility and internal transport infrastructure; further calls for the adoption of measures to improve services of general interest (health, education, water and energy, information, communication technologies, postal services, waste water and waste treatment), taking into account seasonal demographic changes;

73. Urges the Member States, in view of the fact that a significant proportion of the overall pollution of European seas originates on land, to rapidly implement all current and future European legislation in this area; in addition, calls on the Commission to put forward an action plan to reduce this pollution; takes the view that financial support for projects to reduce pollution in third countries must also play a part, as in these countries the level of filter and purification systems is often far below European standards and therefore financial investment can have a greater effect;

74. Regrets that the impact of the agricultural sector has not yet been sufficiently taken into account by the Green Paper; highlights the fact that the agricultural sector is one of the sectors providing the sea with the greatest amount of nutrients; stresses that, in order to to achieve environmental sustainability, necessary measures must be taken at EU level;;

75. Notes that most pollution in the marine environment originates from land-based sources, including but not limited to agricultural runoff and industrial emissions, which have an especially deleterious impact on closed and semi-enclosed seas; stresses that the EU must pay particular attention to these areas and take measures to limit and prevent further pollution; also considers that the new GMES technology (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) could be successfully used for that purpose;

76. Takes into account that the maritime sector is one of the few areas where the 'polluter pays' principle is not adhered to; believes that effluent-discharging industries, industries involved in sand and gravel extraction, maritime energy concerns and any other businesses which, though based on land, can be viewed as a source of pollution of the marine environment, should contribute to an EU fund geared towards the restocking and conservation of marine flora and fauna, including fish stocks, and that the Commission should make an effort to ensure a more uniform and effective application of the 'polluter pays' principle;

77. Calls on the Commission to take action to control pollutants (environmental pollution of the seas) arising from agricultural runoff, sewage or industrial effluents and litter often plastic, which can choke sea mammals, turtles and birds; such pollutants are an increasing hazard, impacting severely on the fisheries sector and on tourism as well as reducing the quality and health of fishery products destined for human consumption; with regard to ocean-going vessels, calls on the Commission to urge Member States, with regard to ocean-going vessels, to implement IMO MARPOL Annex V, which prohibits the discharge of plastic waste and ash from plastic incineration into the sea; calls on the Commission to amend Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities to improve the adequacy and availability of such facilities in the EU and ultimately reduce the discarding of refuse into the sea;

78. Urges the EU, in the context of international maritime policy, to revise and update the UN Convention of 10 December 1982 on the Law of the Sea and the Agreement of 28 July 1994 relating to the implementation of matters governed by Part XI of the Law of the Sea Convention (cf. OJ L179, 23.6.1998, p.129), and in particular to improve international rules on the safety of maritime transport, marine pollution prevention, and protection and preservation of the marine environment; in addition calls on the EU authorities to make a particular effort to ensure that the EU Member States make effective use of the legally binding dispute settlement procedure embodied in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which was set up in 1996, with its seat in Hamburg, on the basis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as regrettably Member States have to date tended not to settle disputes through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea;

79. Encourages the Commission to undertake specific science-based environmental and socio-economic statistical and other studies of the maritime regions in order to monitor and control the effects that the development of economic, sports, and recreational activities have on those regions;

80. Is concerned at the lack of well-trained personnel in important land-based sectors of the maritime economy; considers that here also, employment campaigns run jointly by the Member States and the enterprises concerned can help to alleviate the problem;

81. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to involve all relevant stakeholders concerned in all stages of the process of improving EU maritime policy, both in implementing and enforcing existing legislation and in drafting new initiatives;

     Sustainable coastal tourism

82. Stresses the fact that, if developed wisely, tourism is a sustainable source of income for local economies, ensuring the protection and enhancement of the environment as well as the promotion and preservation of cultural, historical and environmental features, crafts, and sustainable maritime tourism; therefore particularly urges investment in tourism infrastructure in connection with sailing, diving and cruises, and the protection and promotion of archaeological marine treasures;

83. Underlines that the subsidiarity principle applies to tourism , ; stresses the need to respect national plans based on experience and best practice;

84. Stresses the fact that the lack of appropriate and comparable data is one of the key problems in obtaining reliable data on the employment situation in coastal tourism;

85. Also considers that a clean environmentand good air and water quality are vital for the sector’s survival and that, therefore, all future European tourism projects should be considered with a view to ecological acceptability and sustainability;

86. Notes thatEurope is a favourite destination for cruises; stresses that the supply of services should be organised in such a way so as to guarantee open competition and that the need for better infrastructure regarding this activity must be met;

87. Takes the view that traditional seasonal business should be developed into a year-round activity; stresses that the sector should make use of the opportunity to invest in sustainable, year-round tourism activities; considers that extending the season can create jobs and bring about economic success; emphasises that, in terms of sustainability and ‘environmental education’, examples of best practice can have a significant influence on the concept of tourism; highlights that the aim for the sector and the coastal environment is that they benefit from extending the seasonal business period;

88. Believes that European Agenda 21 for the sustainability of European tourism must take into account the specificity of coastal tourism – and islands tourism – and present useful initiatives and share good practices that are efficient in fighting seasonality, such as, for example, developing senior citizens tourism;

89. Calls on the Commission to propose a sustainable European maritime tourism strategy that adopts an integrated policy approach;

Sustainable maritime environment

90. Recalls its resolution of 14 November 2006 on a Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment(9) and reiterates, in particular, the need for :

· the EU to have as its overarching objective the sustainable use of the seas and the conservation of marine ecosystems, including a strong EU policy on marine protection, preventing further loss of biodiversity and deterioration of the marine environment,

· the inclusion of a common EU-wide definition of good environmental status,

· the European Environment Agency to provide regular assessments of the marine environment, which necessitates improvements in national data collection, reporting and exchange,

· recognition of the importance of prior consultation, coordination and cooperation with neighbouring states in the adoption and implementation of the forthcoming Marine Strategy Directive, as stressed in its position of 14 November 2006(10),

91. Recognises that a healthy marine environment constitutes the basis for sustainable development of the shipping sector in the EU and recalls the EU's commitment to incorporate the environmental dimension into all aspects of Community policy;

92. Insists that a clean marine environment, with sufficient biodiversity to ensure the proper functioning of its component ecosystems, is essential for Europe; further insists that the intrinsic value of maritime areas means that the benefits of a good marine environmental status in the EU extend well beyond the potential economic gains to be made from exploiting the various components of the seas, coastal waters and river basins and that, therefore, the conservation and, in many cases, rehabilitation of the EU's marine environment is imperative;

93. Recalls the principleunderpinning the ecosystem approach to the management of human activitiesas one of the key elements of the Thematic Strategy on the Marine Environment; insists that this principle be applied also with regard to maritime policy;

94. Stresses in the strongest possible terms that the criteria used to define good environmental status must be sufficiently far-reaching since these objectives which pertain to quality will probably constitute the benchmark for action programmes for a long time to come;

95. Also considers that measures to improve water quality must be taken swiftly and is, therefore, concerned at the extended timetable proposed in the proposal for a directive on a marine strategy;

96. Insists that the implementation of a network of marine protected areas be accelerated;

97. Is convinced that a clean marine environment is critical for marine species, including both commercial fish and fish that are not commercially exploited, and that the replenishment of depleted fish stocks depends on a reduction in marine pollution as well as in fishing levels; considers that, in order to ensure that fishmeal used in the EU is not contaminated, it is imperative to reduce marine pollutants;

98. Draws attention to the sometimes disastrous impact of exotic organisms in the marine ecosystem and recognises that invasive alien species are a significant threat to marine biodiversity; calls on the Commission to take urgent measures to prevent the transfer of organisms in ballast water and to introduce effective controls on the discharge of ballast water within EU waters;

99. Considers that the concept of "clustering" could have a positive impact on the marine environment if habitat conservation, pollution control, and other environmental technologies are incorporated into the design and implementation of clusters from the planning stages onwards;

100.    Welcomes the recognition by the Commission that a "comprehensive system of spatial planning" is necessary in order to ensure a stable regulatory environment and a legally binding basis for decision making; considers that an essential criterion for effective ecosystem-based spatial planning must be to organise activities in such a way as to reduce the impact of environmentally damaging activities on ecologically sensitive areas while simultaneously using resources in all other areas in an ecologically sustainable manner; in this context insists on the use of the Strategic Environmental Assessment instrument under Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment(11);

101.    Notes that the achievement of a good environmental status also requires that human activities conducted outside ecologically sensitive areas be strictly regulated so as to minimise any possible negative impact on the marine environment;

     Integrated fisheries policy

102.    Takes the view that fishing activity must contribute to the maintenance of viable coastal communities; stresses that for this to be achieved inshore, small-scale fishing interests and recreational anglers must be given access to fisheries, and that such fishing activities encourage tourism, protect our rich coastal heritage and help to keep our seaside communities together;

103.    Expresses its concern that, while the sector is ready to accept the development of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, as a result of the additional restrictions that might result from the Natura 2000 network and other possible marine protected areas (MPAs), unrestricted access and the fisheries activities in these areas might be compromised; takes the view that the development of fisheries activities that do not harm the protection objectives should be allowed within MPAs; also takes the view that, in the case of fisheries activities that harm, or potentially harm, the protection objectives of MPAs, greater efforts should be made, including through research and development, to make fishing methods more environmentally-friendly in order to facilitate greater access to such areas wherever justifiable;

104.    Notes, however, that fishing will have to be restricted in the future through a precautionary approach ensuring the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and the protection of rare, vulnerable or valued species and habitats and that this will inevitably include an increased level of environmental protection than before, involving a network of MPAs created in accordance with the provisions laid down within the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and a system of integrated coastal zone management, so as to ensure that the needless degradation of habitats and sharp decline in biodiversity is stopped;

105.    Calls on the Commission to take due account of successful experiences in fisheries management by local and regional authorities so that they can be applied as models in other regions, particularly those experiences that involve integrated and sustainable management of the sea through a ban on non-selective fishing gear, matching the size of fishing fleets to available resources, coastal planning, regulating tourism activities, such as cetacean watching, drawing up management plans for sites in the Natura 2000 network and creating protected areas;

106.    stresses that the valuable advisory role of Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) should be recognised and RACs should be consulted on marine management;

107.    Endorses the commitment made by the EU at the Earth Summit in 2002 and reiterated in the recent Commission Communication (Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield) to restore fish populations to levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2015, where possible; is of the view that this is best done by avoiding the use of arbitrary reference points that are based on a simple mathematical model; considers that an alternative interpretation of MSY, using a concept such as maximising the cumulative catches over a fixed period of time (possibly a decade), could provide a realistic and possible way to improve the status of fisheries in the EU;

108.    Considers that one important way to reduce discards is to improve the selectivity of fishing, through modifications to fishing gear and techniques; recognises that the cooperation and knowledge of fishermen in this matter is essential and that fishermen who are innovative in this sense should be rewarded;

109.    Calls for increased efforts to end the disgraceful by-catch and discard problem which is a key consequence of the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas regime of the CFP; takes the view that the by-catch depredation of marine mammals, seabirds and turtles is an abhorrence that must be stopped and that, in addition, the damage caused by fishing gear to sensitive seabeds requires that these be given special protection; points out that lost nets also lead to 'ghost-fishing' which can cause considerable fish stock depletion;

110.    Believes strongly that there is an urgent need to promote and apply a mapping/spatial planning programme for Community waters in order to meet the need to maintain a sustainable and geographically representative fishery sector; believes that the mapping out of zones is a suitable exercise as regards off-shore wind-farms or energy production, carbon sequestration and sand and gravel extraction or as regards aquaculture and that mapping the location of marine protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites and other sensitive habitats and species, would lead to more efficient and sustainable use of our maritime environment; stresses that in order to enable effective spatial planning, areas of fishing activity need to be mapped, and this should be facilitated by improving and standardising access to vessel monitoring systems and logbook data across Member States; considers that planning decisions concerning Community waters should be taken in full consultation with the fisheries sector and the communities directly affected;

111.    Highlights the increasing socio-economic significance of fish farming as marine fish stocks diminish worldwide; believes that the worldwide annual sale of aquaculture products will soon exceed the sale of wild catch; stresses that the EU has been at the forefront of this exciting development and should strive to maintain its leading position and encourage further development in a way that is compatible with other coastal and maritime uses; stresses the importance of fish farming for often remote, rural communities where few other job opportunities exist; highlights that, within the context of an integrated coastal zone management approach, clearly defined areas where fish farms may be clustered should be promoted and that this should be linked to a simplified regulatory regime encouraging entrepreneurship and sustainability; believes that new techniques should be developed in the aquaculture sector to enable improved management of quality, traceability assurance throughout the production and value-added chains and the overall recognition of fish farming as a key stakeholder in the maritime sector;

112.    Draws attention to the fact that certain aquaculture practices are contributing to the depletion of some stocks; points out that catching juveniles of certain species in the sea for fattening prevents them from reproducing and ensuring the biological balance between species; takes the view that the high prices that some of these species reach in some world markets lie at the root of this complete disregard for the need to preserve certain marine ecosystems;

113.    Points out that military operations also impact on the fisheries sector; marine firing ranges are 'no go' areas for fishing and other forms of shipping, however they can offer havens for biodiversity; nevertheless, the use of ultra low frequency sonar, particularly by submarines, has a serious effect on sea mammals and other fish stocks and should be strictly regulated and confined to zones;

114.    Stresses the need to monitor fishing in international waters, since this also affects fishery resources in EEZs within the European Union.

     Marine research, energy, technology and innovation

115.    Considers that most of the environmental and sustainability challenges need a response that makes proper use of the scientific and technological knowledge which must be, for that purpose, properly supported by sufficient funding by EC and Member States; calls for the Commission to deliver a strategy for European Maritime Research and for better coordination and networking of European marine research institutes; to this end urges the establishment of a ‘European marine science consortium’, with participation by all relevant European marine research institutes and support from the EU; calls for the knowledge acquired to be entered and stored in a European marine data centre to which all marine research institutes would have access; favours in this context the promotion of a European maritime conference on a regular basis to provide a forum for researchers and industry;

116.    Acknowledges that good governance of the resources of the marine environment requires a solid information base; stresses therefore the importance of sound scientific knowledge of the marine environment in order to assist cost-effective decision making and to avoid measures that do not add value; insists, therefore, that marine research be given special treatment in terms of resource allocation to enable sustainable and effective environmental improvements to be made;

117.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to draw up and implement a survey programme for the European seabed and European coastal waters, with a view to developing a European marine atlas on this basis;

118.    Endorses the view in the Green Paper that there are significant and serious problems with the data available on the condition of the marine environment and the activities that are either conducted or have an impact there; supports, therefore, the call for much improved programmes of data collection, mapping and surveying, vessel tracking, etc. in those areas involving the Member States, the Marine Conventions, the Commission and other Community bodies, such as the European Environment Agency and EMSA; stresses the importance of exchanging best practice at national, regional and European levels;

119.    Calls for maritime research to be enshrined in the EU’s Seventh Framework Research Programme as a crosscutting theme and as a key topic for future framework research programmes; urges that the oceans’ potential contribution to solving Europe’s energy problems be included as the main focus of research, which must be encouraged;

120.    Stresses the enormous development potential of offshore wind energy and the major contribution it is able to make to Europe's independence from energy imports and to climate protection, while pointing out that enormous efforts are still needed fully to develop this potential; therefore calls on the Commission to draw up an offshore wind energy action plan embodying an efficient European approach to offshore technology, promoting more extensive networking and indicating the prospects for achievement of power generation capacity of at least 50 GW by 2020: therefore expects above all the adoption of a 'one-stop shop' approach and the promotion of an intelligent offshore network infrastructure; welcomes the Commission recommendation for a European strategic Energy Technology Plan and urges that efforts be focused on the large-scale development of offshore wind energy;

121.    Recognises the importance of the coastal zone for the development of renewable energy which forms a crucial and integral part of the EU's efforts to combat global climate change; points out that proper zoning for the purposes of maritime spatial planning to allow for the development of sites for the exploitation of wind, tide and other forms of power will therefore be necessary in order to minimise conflict with other users of the marine environment and avoid degrading the environment, taking account of environmental impact assessments (EIA); welcomes the significant opportunities offered by the growing renewable energy industries for the creation of employment and technical expertise in the EU;

122.    stresses, while bad practice must be ruled out,the importance of non-fishery developments which can be compatible with the fishery sector by, for example, encouraging the design of energy production platforms or wind turbine platforms that help to encourage and sustain a flourishing ecosystem, to thus help the establishment of nursery and spawning grounds for marine species in a fishing exclusion zone;

123.    Supports the shift to carbon-free energy generation, but ensuring that the design and location of renewable energy generators provides proper safeguards for maritime wildlife; therefore, calls for the careful planning of maritime renewable energy installations; notes that there are many potential hazards associated with energy production which must be avoided; highlights that structures aimed at harnessing wind or wave energy can effect the natural cycles of the lower layer of the sea; emphasises that estuaries could lose inter-tidal bird feeding areas due to the introduction of barrages that reduce tidal range; underlines, similarly, that tidal power changes could affect horse mussel and flame-shell reefs, maerl beds, anemone and soft corals;

124.    Considers that there is considerable room for improvement as regardsdesalination technology to avoid the pollution of coastal waters, specially if those areas are part of the Natura 2000 network; invites the competent authorities to assess the environmental impact of the desalination plants, particularly in those areas where water can be obtained through more sustainable means;

125.    Considers that, given the particularly rapid development of seawater desalination plants discharging tonnes of brine and other products into the sea, the Commission should investigate the effect of such plants on plankton and the seabed and on the changes and mutations generated within the ecosystem;

126.    Believes that the Galileo satellite navigation system and the GMES system offer huge potential for the maritime sector; encourages the Commission to better promote the use of these systems in the framework of the maritime strategy;

127.    Points to the importance of ICT in port logistics; is convinced that new legislative proposals, such as that on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), should be aimed at propelling the use of these technologies; calls on the Commission to set EU-wide ICT standards for all ports in the Union and to take a leading role in the negotiations on setting international technology standards;

128.    Points out that, as outermost regions lie in areas of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and are well placed for observing phenomena such as those related to weather cycles and vulcanology and, furthermore, that oceanography, biodiversity, environmental quality, management of natural resources, energy and water, genetics, public health, health sciences, new telecommunications systems and services in these territories are par excellence fields for European research, these regions should be considered when planning future research and development programmes;

129.    Considers blue biotechnology as one of the most promising technologies of the coming decades, with many possible uses in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, the food industry and environmental remediation; believes that research efforts in this area should be strengthened and Member States could take advantage of the creation of Blue Investment Funds, as proposed by the Green paper and that better synergy could be achieved by better coordinating Member State research efforts in this field; emphasises that any blue technology development must be strongly regulated and properly assessed in order to avoid overexploitation and further damage to already fragile and threatened marine ecosystems;

130.    Points out that ocean floor sediments comprise large quantities of gas hydrates that might supplement or replace traditional hydrocarbons; highlights that securing access to and evaluating these resources and developing ways of exploiting them are a major challenge that Europe should examine closely; believes that EU Member States’ extension of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, under Article 76 of the Montego Bay convention, is an opportunity to preserve access to potential extra resources;

     A common maritime policy

131.    Agrees with the Commission that the creation of a common European maritime space could considerably increase the efficiency of territorial waters management and believes that such maritime space will contribute to the integration of the internal market for intra-EU maritime transports and services, especially as regards the simplification of customs and administrative procedures and with respect to the UNCLOS and IMO Conventions including the "freedom of navigation" and the "right of innocent passage" within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in international waters (High Seas); notes that Community law has already taken considerable steps in this direction but that in some cases implementation in the Member States is still lagging behind; calls on the Member States to implement European laws promptly;

132.    Highlights the advantages and potential of short sea shipping as a sustainable and efficient transport mode that easily bypasses land bottlenecks and has sufficient capacity for growth; therefore asks the Commission to support and promote short sea shipping by fully implementing the acts concerning short sea shipping; considers that the fact that short sea shipping is still viewed in law as international transport is a hindrance to their growth; therefore calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal to integrate short sea crossings in the European internal market; underlines that this must not interfere with the UNCLOS and IMO Conventions including the "freedom of navigation" and the "right of innocent passage" within the EEZ in international waters (High Seas);

133.    Is disappointed at the progress made to date as regards the implementation of TEN project No 21, ‘motorways of the sea’, and calls on the Commission to appoint a coordinator to speed up implementation of the sea motorways;

134.    Considers that the new maritime policy adopted by the EU should also focus on the protection and promotion of maritime archaeological resources;

135.    Considers that the full and timely implementation of all EU environmental legislation (inter alia the Water Framework Directive(12), Habitats and Birds Directives, Nitrates Directive(13), Marine Fuel Sulphur Directive(14), Directive on Penal Sanctions for Marine Pollution(15)) is imperative for conserving the quality of the marine environment, and that the Commission should exert the necessary pressure to encourage the Member States to do so, including, if necessary, legal action;

136.    Is convinced that the precautionary principle, as embodied in Article 174(2) of the EC Treaty, must form the basis of all types of exploitation of the maritime zones of the EU; stresses that the lack of scientific certainty should therefore not be used as an excuse for delaying preventive action;

137.    Notes that the Green Paper mentions several useful contributions that can be made by the military, including search and rescue, disaster relief and surveillance at sea; regrets, however, that no mention is made of the environmental degradation that can be caused by the military establishment, such as weapons testing, construction of naval bases and the use of high intensity underwater sonar systems which can have a detrimental effect on cetaceans leading to deafness, internal organ damage and fatal mass stranding; insists, in this respect, that military activities be fully incorporated in the maritime policy and be subject to full environmental impact assessment and liability.

138.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include in their maritime policy comprehensive investigations into old ammunition stocks from previous wars that have been dumped in European seas, and the dangers they present for people and the environment, and to examine the possibilities of making them safe and/or salvaging them, and to take appropriate action;

139.    Calls for the Community to play a more prominent role in international organisations; stresses however that the Community cannot and should not represent, still less replace, the EU Member States; reiterates its call for the Council to apply for the EU to join the IMO;

140.    Stresses that the EU must actively engage in maritime governance at international level in order to promote a level playing field for maritime economy without compromising ambition on environmental sustainability of maritime activities;

141.    Stresses that the implementation and enforcement of existing IMO-, ILO- and EU-legislation has led to a safer, cleaner and economically viable maritime sector; welcomes the fact that Annexes I and II of the MARPOL Convention that came into effect on 1 January 2007 have been revised; calls on the EU Member States to ratify rapidly all relevant IMO- and ILO-Conventions, particularly Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, the Bunker Oil Convention, the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships and HNS-Convention; calls for ratification or non-ratification to be used as a criterion for searching ships in port State control operations;

142.    Encourages Member States and the Commission to participate actively in discussions, under the auspices of the IOPCF, to combat substandard shipping and therefore, promote quality shipping; stresses that, in the medium term, consideration should be given to the review of the Civil Liability Convention and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds;

143.    Considers that EMSA, FRONTEX, the Fisheries Agency and the Environment Agency have various instruments at their disposal which could usefully be combined to provide effective support to a European maritime policy; therefore urges the Commission not only to remove obstacles to cooperation between these agencies, but to formalise such cooperation in order to achieve the following: (1) safety at sea and the protection of the marine environment (including fisheries inspection), protection from terrorism, piracy and criminal acts at sea and illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing(2) coordinated fisheries inspections and equal enforcement throughout the EU with equal penalties and sanctions being applied in the courts of Member States (3) strict monitoring of compliance with designated shipping routes and prosecution for illegal discharges from ships; rapid, coordinated response in the event of an accident, deploying the necessary measures as soon as possible, including designating places of refuge and ports for emergency use and combating illegal immigration; reiterates its call, included in the final report of the Temporary Committee on improving safety at sea (MARE), for a European coastguard service to be set up and asks the Commission to come forward with the study on its feasibility as soon as possible;

144.    Expects the European Neighbourhood Policy to take into due account the maritime policy for the Union and the need to cooperate with the EU's neighbouring states as regards the environment, safety and security of the seas and at sea;

145.    Considers that IUU fishing is a serious and increasing problem, causing both destruction of valuable fish stocks and unfair competition between fishermen who respect and fishermen who do not respect the rules; notes that, in certain fisheries in the EU, IUU catches are a significant part of the total catch; looks forward to the Commission's forthcoming communication and legislative proposals to combat IUU fishing and update the EU's 2002 Action Plan;

146.    Calls for a continuing integrated approach to European maritime policy in the future; stresses that this should include at least regular coordination meetings of the relevant Commissioners and regular public exchanges of views with the other stakeholders, for example in biennial conferences; calls on future Council Presidencies to include maritime policy in their work programmes ; also calls on the Commission to indicate annually all EU-funded projects with maritime relevance.

o

o   o

147.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

(1)

             Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7).

(2)

             Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1).

(3)

             OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 11.

(4)

             OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51.

(5)

             OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p. 81.

(6)

             Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0482.

(7)

             OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.

(8)

OJ L 148, 6.6.2002, p. 24.

(9)

             Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0486.

(10)

           Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0482.

(11)

           OJ L 197, 21.7.2001, p. 30.

(12)

.           Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

(13)

           Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources (OJ L 375, 31.12.1991, p. 1).

(14)

.           Council Directive 1999/32/EC of 26 April 1999 relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels and amending Directive 93/12/EEC (OJ L 121, 11.5.1999, p. 13).

(15)

.           Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements (OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 11).


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission's Green Paper ‘Towards a future maritime policy for the union: a European vision of the oceans and seas’ in many respects breaks new political ground. This is evident from the fact that for six months the question of which committee should be responsible for it was hotly debated in Parliament. This shows that the Commission’s attempt at an integrated, holistic approach, combining various policy areas such as shipyards, shipping, safety of ships and at sea, tourism, fisheries, port policy, marine environment, research, industry, spatial planning and others is not automatically understood. A look at the fragmented administrative and political bodies that are responsible for maritime policy in the Member States shows how difficult it will be in practice to implement an integrated approach. Individual DGs in the Commission also publish proposals which seem sectoral rather than holistic, despite the Green Paper.

After the initial difficulties in Parliament, your rapporteur (Committee on Transport and Tourism) and co-rapporteurs (Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Committee on Fisheries, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Committee on Regional Development) formed a working group, so that even when drawing up the individual sections of the report, as great a consensus as possible could be obtained for the joint final report. Independently of the formal procedures for cooperation between committees, in this way a particularly cooperative working method was achieved. Thus on 20 March 2007 a hearing was organised jointly by all the committees involved, with representatives and experts from the various sectors, and participation by the German Council Presidency and the future Portuguese Presidency. This draft report therefore includes nearly all the proposals by the co-rapporteurs.

Overall there seems to be broad agreement among the Member States, the relevant sectors and the regions with the Commission's integrated approach to maritime policy. This may also be due to the fact that abstract concepts feature relatively largely in individual policy areas, firm requirements are avoided and when in doubt the conditional tense provides a way out.

It remains to be seen whether there will still be general agreement on the Green Paper when specific sectoral policies are formulated. The Council’s and Member States’ handling of Parliament's conclusions on the seven legislative initiatives in the Erica III package, which the Green Paper refers to specifically as an important component of European ship and maritime safety, will show how serious are their intentions regarding a future maritime policy.

Your rapporteur therefore proposes that Parliament's position put a number of specific demands to the Commission and also to the Member States. These demands are concerned with stronger support for all areas of the maritime economy and for maritime research and innovation and also with commitments to more sustainability.

Your rapporteur sees maritime transport as an important pillar of the European economy. Therefore one aim of a European maritime policy must be to free it from bureaucracy and to encourage it. Transport by ship must clearly be preferred to transport by road or air because of its comparatively small environmental footprint.

Nevertheless, maritime transport is not ‘clean’; quite apart from the notorious accidents, it has clear side-effects in the form of environmental pollution through exhaust fumes and legal and illegal discharges of oil and chemicals; measures must be taken to make maritime transport less damaging to the environment and the climate.

The Green Paper mentions but deals only briefly with climate policy. Your rapporteur and co-rapporteurs consider that a future maritime policy should pay particular attention to climate change and how to combat it. Emissions trading in shipping, renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar power for ships, land-based power supply for ships in ports, offshore wind energy and others must more strongly determine the European policy agenda in future.

Your rapporteur sees no disadvantage to European industry in these measures, on the contrary: Europe's industries only have a future if they are innovative. Standard products, particularly in shipbuilding, can hardly be produced in Europe at competitive prices.

The European Union has the opportunity to pioneer an innovative and sustainable maritime policy. This requires the Member States to act with a sense of common purpose. The European Parliament should in future measure each Council Presidency by its progress on the European maritime policy.


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (*) (10.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the Oceans and Seas

(2006/2299(INI))

Draftsman: Satu Hassi

(*) Enhanced cooperation between committees - Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Green Paper on a future Maritime Policy for the EU is a very welcome document, for, as the Paper itself notes:

our continued enjoyment of the benefits that [our seas] provide will only be possible through a profound respect for them at a time when their resources are threatened by severe pressures and our increasing technological ability to exploit them. The accelerated reduction of marine biodiversity due notably to pollution, impacts of climate change and overfishing are warning signals that we cannot ignore. (pages 5-6)

It is high time that the Commission takes the initiative to try to develop a coordinated and coherent maritime policy.

In addition to frequently pointing out the extent to which the marine environment has been degraded, the Paper also makes other important points with which your draftsman agrees:

- deterioration of the marine environment reduces the potential for employment;

- any EU policy must be developed in an international context;

- development and introduction of new technologies to ensure environmental sustainability can lead to jobs and export opportunities;

- data are poor on use of the marine environment (lack of data, data not comparable between Member States, etc.) and proposals are made for improvements.

There is a desperate need for a system of spatial planning for maritime activities, based on an ecosystem approach that would, when necessary, place restrictions on activities (see page 34).

The Paper states that the maritime policy is to be based upon two pillars - the Lisbon Strategy and the Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment. Your draftsman recognises that it can be difficult to reconcile the demands of economic growth and environmental conservation, but feels that too much emphasis on the short-term benefits of economic growth can, in the longer term, lead to considerable damage, both environmentally and economically. It is clear from the Paper that the Commission recognises the potential for economic growth that can result from a commitment to conserving the marine environment - offshore energy, cleaner forms of marine transport, ship-building and other technologies to ensure environmental sustainability are mentioned.

Your draftsman urges the Committee to ensure that the Marine Strategy Directive, which is the legislative pillar of the EU's commitment to marine conservation, not be weakened during the process of its final adoption, nor as a result of discussions on the Maritime Policy. It is particularly important to keep the definition of good environmental status contained therein, as well as to push the Member States to fully apply other environmental legislation, such as the Habitats directive, Natura 2000, and others.

Climate change is of such fundamental importance to the EU, and the rest of the world, that the EU's campaign to reduce emissions must be one of its highest priorities. Transport in all its forms (air, road, sea) contributes an ever-increasing share of overall greenhouse gas emissions, and the Commission urgently needs to make proposals to reduce them, which would have the additional benefit of contributing to employment through the development of technological expertise that other countries will need.

Finally, one subject is conspicuous by its absence from the Paper. The military is only mentioned for its potential positive contributions to a maritime policy, through search and rescue, law enforcement, etc. No mention is made of the environmental destruction that can be caused by the military establishment of the Member States and their activities. This oversight should be mentioned in the resolution.

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Recalls its resolution of 14 November 2006 on a Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment(1) and reiterates, in particular, the need for

· the overarching objective of the EU to be the sustainable use of the seas and conservation of marine ecosystems, including a strong EU policy on marine protection, preventing further loss of biodiversity and deterioration of the marine environment;

· the inclusion of a common EU-wide definition of good environmental status;

· the European Environment Agency to provide regular assessments of the marine environment, which necessitates improvements in national data collection, reporting and exchange;

· recognition of the importance of prior consultation, coordination and cooperation with neighbouring states in the adoption and implementation of the forthcoming Marine Strategy Directive (COM(2005)0505 – C6-0346/2005 – 2005/0211(COD)), as stressed in its position of 14 November 2006(2);

2.   Recognises that a healthy marine environment constitutes the basis for sustainable development of the shipping sector in the EU and recalls the EU's commitment to succeed in incorporating the environmental dimension into all aspects of Community policy;

3.   Insists that a clean marine environment, with sufficient biodiversity to ensure the proper functioning of its component ecosystems, is essential for Europe; further insists that the intrinsic value of maritime areas means that the benefits of a good marine environmental status in the EU extend well beyond the potential economic gains from exploitation of the various components of the seas, coastal waters and river basins and that therefore the conservation and, in many cases, rehabilitation of the EU's marine environment is mandatory;

4.   Recalls the principle of the ecosystem approach to management of human activities, one of the key elements of the Thematic Strategy on the Marine Environment; insists that this principle be applied also with regard to the Maritime Policy;

5.   Is thus convinced that renewable resources of the marine environment can and should be used sustainably so that their exploitation, and the resulting economic benefits, can continue in the long term; stresses the need, therefore, for the various policies concerned to adapt to the requirements of a healthy marine environment; calls in this connection also for greater use of onshore and offshore wind power in order to exploit sustainably its potential from the point of view of employment and economic policy;

6.   Stresses that onshore and offshore wind power has very substantial potential for development and could make a major contribution to climate protection, and therefore calls on the Commission to take action by establishing a section or coordinating unit for wind power and launching a wind power action plan;

7.   Cannot stress enough that the criteria selected to define good environmental status must be sufficiently far-reaching since these quality objectives will probably constitute the benchmark for action programmes for a long time to come;

8.   Also considers that measures to improve water quality must be taken swiftly and is, therefore, concerned at the extended timetable proposed in the proposal for a directive on a marine strategy;

9.   Believes that it is important, therefore, to coordinate the timetable for drawing up the marine strategy action plans with important programmes at EU level, such as the EU's Structural Funds, in order to obtain the greatest possible benefits of coordination with existing programmes; considers that the action plans should, therefore, be drawn up by 2012 at the latest to facilitate coordination with the drafting of the structural programmes from 2014; stresses that coordination with the EU's agricultural fund (FEADER) is of particular importance for those regions in which agriculture is responsible for a significant portion of discharges into the sea;

10. Insists that the implementation of a network of marine protected areas be accelerated;

11. Alarmed by impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems even in the most positive climate protection scenarios, calls for due attention to be paid to the additional vulnerability of marine environment to other stress factors due to these impacts; insist that greenhouse gas emissions from maritime activities must urgently be addressed by effective measures such as including maritime transport in emission trading and making greater use of renewable energies to propel ships;

12. Considers that a substantial reduction in nitrogen oxides and particulates could be achieved if energy were supplied to ships from land while they were in port and calls on the Commission therefore to support appropriate measures;

13. Is concerned by reports which suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are higher than previously thought, representing up to 5% of global emissions, and are projected to rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years unless action is taken to counter the trend; points out that greenhouse gas emissions from fishing vessels are significant; noting the lack of progress within the IMO on this issue despite the mandate given in the Kyoto Protocol ten years ago, urges the Commission to propose legislation to effectively reduce maritime greenhouse gas emissions and for the EU to take decisive action to include the maritime sector in international climate conventions;

14. Notes that most pollution in the marine environment originates from land-based sources, including but not limited to agricultural runoff and industrial emissions, which have an especially deleterious impact on closed and semi-enclosed seas; stresses that the EU must pay particular attention to these areas and take measures to limit and prevent further pollution; also considers that the new GMES technology (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) could be successfully used for that purpose;

15. Recognising that ship-sourced air pollutant emissions will exceed those from land-based sources in the foreseeable future, recalls its request in the context of the Thematic Strategy on Air Quality for the Commission and the Member States to take urgent measures to cut emissions from the shipping sector and for the Commission to come forward with proposals

- to establish NOx emission standards for ships using EU ports;

- to designate the Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic as Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) under the MARPOL Convention;

- to lower the maximum allowed sulphur content in marine fuels used in SECAs by passenger vessels from 1.5% to 0.5%;

- to introduce fiscal measures such as taxes or charges on SO2 and NOx emissions from ships;

- to encourage the introduction of differentiated port and fairway charges favouring vessels with low SO2 and NOx emissions;

- to encourage the use of shore-side electricity by ships when in port;

- for an EU directive on the quality of marine fuels;

16. Notes with concern that the Baltic Sea is currently one of the most polluted seas in the world, and reminds the Commission of its previous call for the drafting of a recommendation on an EU strategy for the Baltic, proposing measures to improve the condition of the environment of the Baltic Sea, particularly to reduce the eutrophication of the Baltic and to prevent emissions of oil and other toxic and damaging substances into the sea; recalls that existing instruments for cooperation such as INTERREG programmes should be fully exploited when implementing interregional projects to improve the state of the Baltic environment;

17. Stresses the need to include efforts to develop scientific and technological innovations in the field of maritime research within, and by increasing the funding for, the joint European research programmes;

18. Is convinced that a clean marine environment is critical for marine species, both commercial fish and others that are not exploited, and that any recovery of depleted fish stocks depends on a reduction in marine pollution as well as in fishing effort; considers that in order to ensure that fish meal used in the EU is not contaminated, it is imperative to reduce marine pollutants;

19. Considers that the full and timely implementation of all EU environmental legislation (inter alia the Water Framework Directive(3), Habitats(4) and Birds Directives(5), Nitrates Directive(6), Marine Fuel Sulphur Directive(7), Directive on Penal Sanctions for Marine Pollution(8)) is imperative for conserving the quality of the marine environment, and that the Commission should employ all necessary pressure to encourage the Member States to do so, including, if necessary, legal action;

20. Draws attention to the sometimes disastrous impact of exotic organisms in the marine ecosystem and recognises that invasive alien species are an important threat to marine biodiversity; calls on the Commission to take urgent measures to prevent the transfer of organisms in ballast water and to introduce effective controls on the discharge of ballast water within EU waters;

21. In the context of improving enforcement of EU environmental legislation and prevention of marine pollution, recalls its earlier demand for the Commission to study the feasibility of establishing a European coastguard service;

22. Acknowledges that good governance of the resources of the marine environment requires a solid information base; stresses therefore the importance of sound scientific knowledge of the marine environment in order to assist cost-effective decision making and to avoid measures that do not add value; insists therefore that marine research be given special emphasis in terms of resource allocation to enable sustainable and effective environmental improvements to be made;

23. Is convinced that the precautionary principle, as embodied in Article 174(2) of the EC Treaty, must form the basis of all types of exploitation of the maritime zones of the EU; stresses that lack of scientific certainty should therefore not be used as an excuse for delaying preventive action;

24. Considers that the concept of corporate social responsibility is of limited value in the context of conserving the marine environment, compared to legislation, and that therefore a proper legislative base must continue to underpin the Community programme for environmental conservation, to be strengthened by voluntary actions undertaken by companies wishing to demonstrate their responsible behaviour;

25. Stresses that the EU must actively engage in maritime governance at international level in order to promote a level playing field for maritime economy without compromising ambition on environmental sustainability of maritime activities;

26. Recognises the importance of the coastal zone for the development of renewable energy which forms a crucial and integral part of the EU's efforts to combat global climate change; points out that proper zoning for purposes of maritime spatial planning to allow for the development of sites for the exploitation of wind, tide and other forms of power will therefore be necessary in order to minimise conflict with other users of the marine environment and avoid degrading the environment, taking account of environmental impact assessments (EIA); welcomes the significant opportunities offered by the growing renewable energy industries for the creation of employment and technical expertise in the EU;

27. Reconfirms its position of 14 November 2006 on the Marine Strategy Directive, and in particular as regards the prohibitions and/or criteria for systematic/intentional disposal of any solid materials, liquid or gas into the water column, seabed/subsoil; furthermore considers that any storage of carbon dioxide into the seabed and subsoil should be subject to authorisation under international law, prior environmental impact assessment in accordance with Council Directive 85/337/EEC(9) and relevant international conventions, as well as regular monitoring and controls;

28. Recognises that for the Marine Strategy to be the ‘environmental pillar’ of the Maritime Policy, the policies need to be fully complementary to ensure consistency in the EU's approach; recognises that carbon dioxide storage in sub-seabed geological structures could provide part of a portfolio of measures for greenhouse gas emission reductions in the atmosphere and calls for the creation of a clear legislative and regulatory framework for the deployment of this technology;

29. Insists that planning of all development along the Community's lengthy coast, for urban development, industrial sites, ports and marinas, recreational sites etc., must explicitly take into consideration the consequences of climate change and associated rise in sea level, including the increasing frequency and strength of storms and greater wave height; insists that no new nuclear installations be built in coastal areas;

30. Considers that the concept of "clustering" could have positive impacts on the marine environment if habitat conservation, pollution control, and other environmental technologies are incorporated into the design and implementation of clusters from the planning stages onwards; notes that the sharing of best environmental technologies and better (transnational) cooperation between ports as well as more efficient use of free port capacity should constitute an important component of the cluster concept;

31. Welcomes the recognition by the Commission that a "comprehensive system of spatial planning" is necessary in order to ensure a stable regulatory environment and a legally binding basis for decision making; considers that an essential criterion for effective ecosystem-based spatial planning must be to organise activities in such a way as to keep the impact of environmentally damaging activities out of ecologically sensitive areas at the same time as using resources in all other areas in an ecologically sustainable manner; in this context insists on the use of the Strategic Environmental Assessment instrument(10);

32. Insists, however, that coastal zone management must have as one of its core objectives to conserve the marine environment, rather than to set aside a few sample areas as a token to conservation, particularly in the light of Recommendation 2002/413/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe(11);

33. In this context agrees with the Commission that there is a natural limit to the amount of human activity, in terms of population density and industrial activity, that coastal zones can support without severe and possibly irreversible environmental degradation; supports, therefore, the view of the Commission that a comprehensive study is needed in order to be better able to identify these limits and to forecast and plan accordingly;

34. Notes that the achievement of good environmental status also requires that human activities conducted outside ecologically sensitive areas be strictly regulated so as to minimise any possible negative impact on the marine environment;

35. Endorses the view in the Green Paper that there are significant and serious problems with the data available on the condition of the marine environment and the activities that are either conducted or have an impact there; supports, therefore, the call for much improved programmes of data collection, mapping and surveying, vessel tracking, etc. in those areas involving the Member States, the Marine Conventions, the Commission and other Community bodies such as the European Environment Agency and European Maritime Safety Agency; stresses the importance of exchanging best practices at national, regional and European level;

36. Notes that the Green Paper mentions several useful contributions that can be made by the military, including search and rescue, disaster relief and surveillance at sea; regrets, however, that no mention is made of the environmental degradation that can be caused by the military establishment, such as weapons testing, construction of naval bases and the use of high intensity underwater sonar systems which can have a detrimental effect on cetaceans leading to deafness, internal organ damage and fatal mass stranding; insists, in this respect, that military activities be fully incorporated in the maritime policy and be subject to full environmental impact assessment and liability.

PROCEDURE

Title

Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the Oceans and Seas

Procedure number

2006/2299(INI)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

ENVI
14.12.2006

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Draftsman
  Date appointed

Satu Hassi
23.1.2007

Previous draftsman

 

Discussed in committee

21.3.2007

 

 

 

 

Date adopted

8.5.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

41

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Adamos Adamou, Georgs Andrejevs, Margrete Auken, Irena Belohorská, Johannes Blokland, John Bowis, Frieda Brepoels, Hiltrud Breyer, Martin Callanan, Dorette Corbey, Chris Davies, Avril Doyle, Mojca Drčar Murko, Jill Evans, Satu Hassi, Gyula Hegyi, Jens Holm, Marie Anne Isler Béguin, Dan Jørgensen, Christa Klaß, Urszula Krupa, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, Linda McAvan, Alexandru-Ioan Morţun, Roberto Musacchio, Péter Olajos, Miroslav Ouzký, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Karin Scheele, Carl Schlyter, Horst Schnellhardt, Kathy Sinnott, Antonios Trakatellis, Thomas Ulmer, Anja Weisgerber, Åsa Westlund, Anders Wijkman, Glenis Willmott

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Christofer Fjellner, Adam Gierek, Alojz Peterle, Andres Tarand

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Comments (available in one language only)

 

(1)

P6_TA(2006)0486.

(2)

P6_TA(2006)0482.

(3)

OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1. (Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy).

(4)

OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7. (Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora).

(5)

OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1. (Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds).

(6)

OJ L 375, 31.12.1991, p. 1. (Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources).

(7)

OJ L 121, 11.5.1999, p. 13. (Council Directive 1999/32/EC of 26 April 1999 relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels and amending Directive 93/12/EEC).

(8)

OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 11. (Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements).

(9)

OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40. (Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment).

(10)

OJ L 197, 21.7.2001, p. 30. (Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment).

(11)

OJ L 148, 6.6.2002, p. 24.


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (4.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European Vision for the Oceans and Seas

(2006/2299(INI))

Draftsman: Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Europe can be seen as a big peninsula surrounded by oceans and seas and irrigated by many rivers and canals. The importance of the seas and oceans as a natural under-exploited resource with manifold uses and economic activities cannot be stressed enough. While the potential of Europe's maritime dimension is evident, so far EU’s policies on maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries and the marine environment were fragmented and sometimes even conflicting. The development of an all-embracing maritime policy, aimed at enhancing Europe's maritime economy in a sustainable manner is therefore of the utmost importance. The Green Paper holds the promise of exploring untapped synergies and creating a new vision for the management of our oceans.

The maritime industries and services encompass a wide range of sectoral economic activities, ranging from shipbuilding and ports, through aquaculture to offshore energy exploration. Overall, between 3 and 5% of Europe’s GDP is estimated to be generated by marine-based activities, providing employment to over 3 million persons.

Europe’s maritime clusters are highly successful and global market leaders. European shipyards are the world market leaders in terms of turnover and innovative products and processes. Europe controls 40% of world merchant fleet and dominating international liner services. Also in the marine equipment industry, a highly competitive and knowledge-based market, Europe is a world leader with 35% of world market share.

The sea also plays a major role in energy supply and offers interesting opportunities for renewable energy generation, since offshore wind energy, ocean currents, waves and tidal movements represent a vast amount of energy.

Marine biotechnology is considered one of the most exciting emerging technology sectors with a huge potential to valuably contribute to nearly every industry sector, from healthcare to bioremediation and from cosmetics to nutraceuticals, including algae.

The sectors with most growth potential are cruise shipping, aquaculture, renewable energy, submarine telecommunications and marine biotechnology. Potential business opportunities require further R&D effort. The European industry needs to be knowledge-driven to compete on a global scale. A skilled work force and continuous innovation is therefore needed. Innovative ICT solutions, from the collection and use of marine data to port operations (Galileo project and GMES initiative), are considered as a key lever.

The EU must become a global player in the field of maritime policy, whether in research or other areas. So far the EU policy is fragmented and the Union does not speak with one voice. We must succeed especially as the rest of the world expects us to be a global player.

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Strongly welcomes the development of an all-embracing European maritime policy aimed at enhancing the Union's maritime economy in a sustainable manner;

2.  Considers that shipyards and marine equipment industries in the Union have managed to remain competitive by investing in innovative products and processes and by creating knowledge-based niche markets; believes that a European maritime strategy should create the right conditions to maintain the Union’s leading position in these markets, for example by promoting the development of maritime technology transfer mechanisms;

3.  Stresses the importance of a highly-qualified workforce in ensuring that the European integrated maritime economy remains competitive and therefore urges the Commission to promote the attractiveness of professions in the maritime training sector and take measures designed to remedy the current shortage of qualified staff;

4.  Urges the Commission to provide support at WTO level for European shipyards, which are being constantly exposed to unfair competition from Asian shipbuilders;

5.  Notes that Europe is a popular region for yachting tourism, cruiser tourism and sub aqua tourism; encourages the maritime regions to invest in their marina infrastructure and other related infrastructures in order to benefit from this growing market whilst ensuring the protection of habitats, species and marine ecosystems in general; calls on the Commission to help set harmonised standards for facilities and technical equipment so as to ensure a high level of service quality throughout the Union;

6.  Considers that the new maritime policy adopted by the European Union should also focus on the protection and promotion of maritime archaeological resources;

7.  Believes that the Galileo satellite navigation system and the GMES system offer huge potential for the maritime sector; encourages the Commission to better promote the use of these systems in the framework of the maritime strategy;

8.  Considers that, given the particularly rapid development of seawater desalination plants discharging tonnes of brine and other products into the sea, the Commission should investigate the effect of such plants on plankton and the seabed and on the changes and mutations generated within the ecosystem;

9.  Points to the importance of ICT in port logistics; is convinced that new legislative proposals, such as that on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), should be aimed at propelling the use of these technologies; calls on the Commission to set EU-wide ICT standards for all ports in the Union and to take a leading role in the negotiations on setting international technology standards;

10. Given that the ocean is a complex system that is difficult to grasp by direct observation, calls upon the Commission to promote the harmonisation of data collection and exchange between Member States through the creation of a European Marine Observation and Information Network; Notes that the implementation of EU policies, such as the Water Framework Directive, Natura 2000 and others, will also involve developing coordinated observation networks;

11. Given the huge importance of waterborne transport, both inside the internal market and with the Union's trading partners, believes that a new EU maritime strategy should contain a port strategy;

12. Recognises that carbon dioxide storage in sub-seabed geological structures is an important part of a portfolio of measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions; calls for the creation of a clear legislative and regulatory framework for the deployment of that technology;

13. Sees huge potential for reducing the use of fossil fuels and the emissions of CO2 in the maritime transport sector, inter alia, by promoting the use of, and further research into, biofuels and stepping up the use of wind energy for ship propulsion; stresses, however, the need for mandatory environmental and social certification of biofuels and that their full life-cycle climate efficiency and CO2 balance is undisputed;

14. Stresses the potential significance of energy generated by wind, sea currents, waves and tides, particularly in Europe's coastal regions, in terms of not only energy supply but also economic development and job creation;

15. Acknowledges that sound scientific knowledge of the marine environment and its characteristics leads to high-quality, environmentally-friendly and economically-rewarding innovations; insists, therefore, that marine research be given special importance and emphasis through, for example, increased resources being allocated to it;

16. Stresses the importance of developing a European strategy for the study and forecasting of the effects of climatic change encompassing the marine environment and coastal areas in a bid to predict or alleviate the potential environmental and economic effects on them;

17. Stresses the enormous development potential of offshore wind energy and the major contribution it is able to make to Europe's independence fromenergy imports and to climate protection, while pointing out that enormous efforts are still needed fully to develop this potential; therefore calls on the Commission to draw up an offshore wind energy action plan embodying an efficient European approach to offshore technology,promoting more extensive networking and indicating the prospects for achievement of power generation capacity of at least 50 GW by 2020: therefore expects above all the adoption of a 'one-stop shop' approach and the promotion of an intelligent offshore network infrastructure; welcomes the Commission recommendation for a European strategic Energy Technology Plan and urges that efforts be focussed on the large-scale development of offshore wind energy;

18. Considers blue biotechnology as one of the most promising technologies of the coming decades, with many possible uses in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, the food industry and environmental remediation; believes that research efforts in this area should be strengthened and that better synergy could be achieved by better coordinating Member State research efforts in this field;

19. Stresses the potential for achieving a European dimension to marine research and development through strengthening network initiatives among universities, public research centres and technical schools, including the establishment of joint programmes and the exchange of students and researchers in that field, with the aim of establishing a network of European marine research institutes";

20. Believes that the Union should set environmental and safety standards for vessel dismantling in its area of jurisdiction and should strive to harmonise international standards in this area;

21. Considers that specific human and environmental safety and quality objectives should be set in the transport sector; believes that research into improved technology and manpower training are particularly important in ensuring good progress in the achievement of these objectives;

22. Calls on the Commission to investigate comprehensively all aspects of the environmental impact of maritime transport from available fuel quality to airborne emissions and discharges from vessels and to propose measures for the sustainable development of shipping;

23. Sees maritime spatial planning as vital for the proper coordination of the various activities that are carried on in the maritime environment; believes that the Commission should take the lead in this coordination;

24. Considers that, since effective integrated coastal zone management is indispensable for the success of an overall maritime policy, it is essential to step up interdisciplinary research into coastal management and regional maritime planning, involving more closely those concerned so as to ensure that scientific research in this area is conducted with maximum transparency, consensus and participation.

PROCEDURE

Title

Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European Vision for the Oceans and Seas

Procedure number

2006/2299(INI)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

ITRE
14.12.2006

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

0.0.0000

Drafts(wo)man
  Date appointed

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis
4.10.2006

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

28.2.2007

26.3.2007

3.5.2007

 

 

Date adopted

3.5.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Šarūnas Birutis, Renato Brunetta, Jerzy Buzek, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Silvia Ciornei, Lena Ek, Nicole Fontaine, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, David Hammerstein Mintz, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Mary Honeyball, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Romano Maria La Russa, Pia Elda Locatelli, Angelika Niebler, Reino Paasilinna, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimír Remek, Herbert Reul, Mechtild Rothe, Paul Rübig, Andres Tarand, Catherine Trautmann, Claude Turmes, Nikolaos Vakalis, Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ivo Belet, Philip Dimitrov Dimitrov, Robert Goebbels, Satu Hassi, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Erika Mann, John Purvis, Hannes Swoboda, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Zuzana Roithová

Comments (available in one language only)

 


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (8.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European Vision for the Oceans and Seas

(2006/2299(INI))

Draftsman: Yiannakis Matsis

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Stresses the fact that, if developed wisely, tourism is a sustainable source of income for local economies, ensuring the protection and enhancement of the environment as well as the promotion and preservation of cultural, historical and environmental features, crafts, and sustainable maritime tourism; therefore particularly urges investment in tourism infrastructure in connection with sailing, diving and cruises, and the protection and promotion of archaeological marine treasures;

2.   Urges the Commission and the Member States to endorse traditional economic activities, which do no damage to marine ecosystems, which add value to local products and offer viable alternatives to sectors that lay greater emphasis on competitiveness;

3.   Calls on the Member States to better use structural and cohesion funds in order to further develop intermodal transport services at ports so as to facilitate the switch from land to water transport, increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions that emanate from the European transport system;

4.  Encourages the Commission to undertake specific, scientifically-based environmental and socio-economic statistical and other studies of the maritime regions in order to be able to monitor and control the effects of the development of economic activities on those areas;

5.   Stresses the importance, within a holistic maritime policy, of developing and implementing an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) policy, covering the multiple uses of the coastal zones and their impact on development policies; calls, in this context, for greater harmonisation of relevant national legislation with Community law;

6.   Urges the Commission and the European Maritime Safety Agency to work in close cooperation so as to encourage the adoption of rules on port operations, fisheries, conservation of marine ecosystems and heritage, pollution, remote-sensing surveillance and satellite-positioning systems that can also be applied in third countries to help place the oceans on a sustainable footing and lessen the effects of unfair competition at global level;

7.   Encourages regions and Member States to use cohesion policy instruments in order to achieve further integration in maritime and coastal policy, promote entrepreneurship and set up SMEs, thus helping to overcome the problem of seasonal employment; calls, in particular, for the creation of a network of regions of maritime excellence in the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective;

8.   Calls for the setting up of Marine Management Organisations (MMOs) in each coastal Member State in order to enable the streamlining of management in view of the broad range of government departments and other bodies which have a direct input in maritime management;

9.  Calls for the development of all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and manage the risks of damage to coastal areas by natural disasters (i.e. floods, erosion, storms, tsunamis, volcanoes, cyclones) and climate change effects, such as rising sea levels, drought, desertification and scarcity of ground water, while taking into account the different protection needs of the various EU coastal regions and ensuring that the construction of coastal defences does not go beyond what is necessary , so as not to cause unnecessary damage to the environment; further stresses the need to adopt global and Community measures in order to deal with the threats to European coastal ecosystems engendered by these natural phenomena and by various human activities, such as building housing and roads , tourist facilities and commercial and industrial areas ;

10. Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote and increase partnerships between universities and their research centres on the one hand, and between businesses on the other for the purpose of drawing up strategies and practical projects to help boost sustainable growth and employment in the different spheres of the maritime ‘cluster’;

11. Stresses the fact that a comprehensive system of spatial planning is necessary in order to ensure a stable regulatory environment, so that all development along the Community's lengthy coastlines and also in the hinterland takes into consideration the consequences of climate change and takes an ecosystem-based approach; notes, in particular, that human activities outside ecologically sensitive areas that have harmful effects on the marine environment should also be regulated, so as to minimise their negative impact;

12. Emphasises the importance of the contribution that EU cohesion policy, through its objective of "European territorial cooperation", the networking of coastal, insular and outermost regions (as well as the European Neighbourhood Policy ) can make to a holistic maritime policy through the exchange of best practices and the promotion of joint strategies for the competitiveness of these regions; also calls for the incorporation of a best practices system in the development of interregional initiatives;

13. Calls for the creation of a European Maritime Platform for the exchange and promotion of best practices between European, national, regional and local stakeholders, particularly with regard to regional economic groupings, research networking, land planning and good governance; further calls on the Commission to prepare a catalogue of projects in the field of maritime policy, which are already funded by the Community, in order to facilitate the promotion and monitoring of good practices;

14. Calls on the Member States to take measures to enhance business competitiveness of coastal regions by encouraging research, the creation of centres of maritime excellence and technological development and innovation as well as inter-business cooperation (networks, clusters, public partners) and the provision of improved support services aimed at reducing the dependence of those regions on a very limited number of (traditional) economic activities;

15. Urges the Commission to take greater account of the specific characteristics of all island regions in designing EU maritime policy, both in terms of compensating natural handicaps as well as maximising the value of their geographic situation in order to improve their integration into the EU; calls for the implementation of specific programmes and measures for the island regions in order to improve port infrastructure, thereby ensuring improved access to continental markets;

16. Points to the key role that the outermost regions should play in drawing up and implementing the future European maritime strategy, bearing in mind their geographical location and extensive knowledge of the seas; notes, in particular, the important contribution that the outermost regions can make to the promotion of the concept of “Europe of the Seas” in other continents;

17. Stresses the need for a balanced strategy for maritime regions with regards to the environment and the economy as both are equally important for their sustainable development and for living conditions in those regions; emphasises, therefore, the need for a balance between the Community’s marine and maritime strategy; calls on the Commission to safeguard this balance;

18. Stresses the importance of the inland dimension and the interactions between inland areas, waterways and rivers, coastal areas and the sea in developing a holistic maritime policy;

19. Encourages the development of new networks for the implementation of projects and activities in the form of partnerships between the private sector, NGOs, local authorities and regions, with a view to achieving greater dynamism, innovation and efficiency and improving the quality of life in coastal areas;

20. Stresses the need to support and strengthen the efforts being made to frame a European maritime research policy that is consistent twith current international maritime policy, having also in mind the protection of the environment and the vital importance of the sea, not only for the EU but also for the international community;

21. Stresses the need to ensure social, economic and territorial cohesion for the coastal and insular regions, and to implement measures particularly in the fields of maritime transport, energy, the securing of adequate water resources, and the protection of the fragile coastal and island environment;

22. Emphasises the need to replace standard technologies with environmentally friendly ones and calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide financial incentives or/and tax relief and assistance, using innovative research programmes to encourage and facilitate such a shift;

23. Encourages research centres all over Europe to cooperate in their research into innovative ship engine technology; notes that such research should be bear in mind environmental protection and especially the combating of sea and coastal pollution and the destruction of ecosystems; further calls for the creation of a “European research network on oceans” with the remit of supporting common European maritime research, which could render the EU a global leader in the field;

24. Encourages the creation of an informal 'task-force' composed of the Commission and relevant stakeholders in the field, with the remit of monitoring maritime sustainable cooperation in European seas and preparing for more ambitious objectives that are to be achieved after 2013;

25. Stresses the need to develop coastal regions, islands and outermost regions in a sustainable way, so that they remain attractive places in which to live, work and invest for future generations as well, by improving accessibility and internal transport infrastructures, in particular by introducing greater flexibility in the provision of economic support measures for transport. Taking into account the impact of seasonal demographic changes, points out the need toadopt measures in accordance with the subsidiarity principle in order to improve services of general interest (health, education, water and energy, information, communication technologies, postal services, waste water and waste treatment);

26. Calls on the Commission to pay special attention to the diminishing number and the ageing of Union citizens employed in sectors relating to the sea; believes that further steps should be taken to promote training and lifelong learning for those workers;

27. Stresses the need to improve maritime data recording by supporting the proposal for setting up a European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODN) which will integrate existing and new maritime data, thereby enabling long-term monitoring and a high-quality risk assessment process;

28. Stresses that a holistic European maritime policy should have an external relations dimension, especially with third countries in the immediate neighbourhood, in response to efforts for governance of high seas beyond European waters, and to international regulatory processes, which will affect national policies of Member States;

29. Maintains that European territorial cooperation has an important role to play as regards setting up regional research centres, in the joint management of water and estuary resources, in the management of energy sources, land, seashores, and safety, and in the promotion of social development and strategic planning in the various sectors making up the maritime ‘cluster’; considers that the above strategy should also be implemented by drawing to the full on the potential of the ENP;

30. Calls for a future maritime policy in the Union to respect the commitments made by Member States in the framework of international treaties (i.e. the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic - OSPAR) and that comply with or enhance possible commitmentsin future EU-frameworks;

31. Calls on the Commission to also consider the re-allocation of de-committed funds due to the N+2 or N+3 rule towards financing structural interventions within the framework of the future EU maritime policy, in particular relating to improving the quality of life in coastal regions, the marine environment and local employment in the maritime industry;

32. Stresses the need for increased scientific research into the interaction of different parts of the marine ecosystem and the effects on this of climate change and of human exploitation of natural resources;

33. Encourages all initiatives and activities undertaken by FRONTEX and also encourages, taking into account the peculiarities of each island, stronger and closer co-ordination and co-operation of the islands in order to effectively confront and fight illegal migration and drug trafficking;

34. Urges the Commission to examine the need for the creation of a European coastguard body to assist insular and coastal regions and the Member States in monitoring the EU's external borders; Urges the Commission to also examine the possible role of a European coastguard body in combating illegal and unregulated fishing within European seas;

35. Calls on the Member States, in their education and training policies, to foster an understanding of, and an appreciation for, maritime heritage and encourage recruitment to occupations and professions connected with the sea; also calls for education to be tailored more accurately to the specific needs of the various bodies involved in the maritime ‘cluster’;

36. Asks the Commission and Member States to ensure an adequate level of participation by local and regional authorities in the implementation of an integrated maritime policy and the management of coastal regions; also calls for the support of thematic regional networks on the development of common projects in the fields of transport, infrastructure, protection of the environment, coordination of fisheries and commercial cooperation;

37. Calls on the Commission to investigate how land planning and integrated management of coastal zones can be successfully implemented, with particular reference to the special circumstances of islands.

PROCEDURE

Title

Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European Vision for the Oceans and Seas

Procedure number

2006/2299(INI)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

REGI
14.12.2006

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Drafts(wo)man
  Date appointed

Yiannakis Matsis
6.11.2006

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

12.4.2007

 

 

 

 

Date adopted

2.5.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

42

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Alfonso Andria, Stavros Arnaoutakis, Jean Marie Beaupuy, Rolf Berend, Antonio De Blasio, Vasile Dîncu, Gerardo Galeote, Iratxe García Pérez, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Gábor Harangozó, Marian Harkin, Jim Higgins, Alain Hutchinson, Gisela Kallenbach, Tunne Kelam, Evgeni Kirilov, Constanze Angela Krehl, Mario Mantovani, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Yiannakis Matsis, Miroslav Mikolášik, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Jan Olbrycht, Maria Petre, Markus Pieper, Elisabeth Schroedter, Stefan Sofianski, Grażyna Staniszewska, Oldřich Vlasák, Vladimír Železný

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Bastiaan Belder, Silvia Ciornei, Brigitte Douay, Den Dover, Riitta Myller, Zita Pleštinská, Christa Prets, Miloslav Ransdorf, Richard Seeber, László Surján, Károly Ferenc Szabó

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Véronique De Keyser, Henrik Lax, Samuli Pohjamo

Comments (available in one language only)

 


OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries (*) (22.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas

(2006/2299(INI))

Draftsman: Struan Stevenson

(*) Enhanced cooperation between committees - Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas the co-ordination of the different sectors involved in maritime affairs is essential to realise the full potential of EU maritime interests,

B.   whereas applying the Lisbon Strategy to maritime policies not only concerns objectives linked to improving competitiveness but must also have an impact on other pillars of the strategy, such as creating more sustainable and better quality maritime employment in the EU,

C.  whereas fisheries is a highly regulated economic sector and measures must therefore be in place to ensure that these regulations translate into good practice and good results; whereas, in order to implement sustainability, it is necessary to take into account the many varied factors which influence the state of fish stocks such as climate change, predators, pollution, oil and gas exploration and drilling, maritime wind farms, sand and gravel extraction,

D.  whereas in twenty years' time the EU fisheries sector will have been transformed because of external factors such as climate change and human action, and whereas with evidence of such transformation already apparent in the case of North Sea cod, it is crucial to tackle effectively the causes of climate change,

E.   whereas the primary aim of a European maritime policy should be to maximise the quality of life, in a sustainable manner, of persons who live in coastal areas or whose lives are affected by maritime affairs, and whereas this requires policies which recognise the specific needs of, and problems faced by, coastal communities, and which effectively balance economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development,

F.   whereas in implementing a European Maritime Policy full regard must be given to the principle of subsidiarity, with particular recognition being given to the constitutional, legal and administrative structures operating within individual Member States,

1.   Calls on each coastal Member State to consider means to enable the streamlining of management, given the broad range of government departments, Directorates-General of the Commission and other bodies, including local and regional authorities which have a direct input into marine management; the valuable advisory role of Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) should also be recognised and RACs should be consulted on marine management;

2.   Considers that, while many aspects of maritime policy are best coordinated at an EU level, the specific implementation of management measures in fisheries and other areas of maritime policy takes place at national, regional and local levels and accordingly any future European maritime policy must operate at an EU-wide level where that is most appropriate, while fully respecting the views and interests of those living in Europe's coastal communities;

3.   Calls for the creation of a European marine research network that will encourage the exchange of information among European research bodies and sectors and keep the EU at the forefront as regards innovation and knowledge of the marine environment;

4.   Taking into account that the maritime sector is one of the few areas where the polluter pays principle is not adhered to, believes that effluent discharging industries, industries involved in sand and gravel extraction and maritime energy concerns should contribute to an EU fund geared towards protecting all marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and in particular re-stocking and fisheries conservation;

5.   Taking into consideration that building sea defences to protect against rising sea levels can lead to a loss of habitat, while the rise itself causes 'coastal squeeze' of salt marshes and mudflats and the erosion of sand dunes, all of which are rich habitats for plants and animals, calls for a long-term strategy to maintain coastal defences, protect against rising sea levels and minimise habitat loss, particularly in islands;

6.   Takes the view that fishing activity will also have to contribute to the maintenance of viable coastal communities through access to fisheries for inshore, small-scale fishing interests and recreational anglers and that such activities nourish tourism, protect our rich coastal heritage and help to keep our seaside communities together;

7.   Notes the scarcity of expert and well-trained professionals facing the industry; suggests that special training courses for skippers and crews of fishing vessels be developed to provide a basic understanding of the science that affects their industry, including providing an understanding of the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability as an aid to the progressive development of an ecosystem-based approach to successful fisheries management;

8.   Urges the Commission to create vocational retraining plans for fishermen, encouraging them to focus on new practices that promote the use of knowledge relating to working at sea; points to the offshore aquaculture and eco-tourism sectors as being among the possible targets;

9.   Points to the importance of improving the image of the fisheries sector, which currently enjoys poor respectability; is of the opinion that improved health and safety on vessels, and better pay and conditions for crews, can only be achieved in a sustainable and profitable industry and that more resources must be devoted to research and education aimed at improving knowledge and skills;

10. Notes that the creation of conditions ensuring hygiene, safety and comfort for workers in the fishing industry, both for fishermen themselves and for people working in sectors upstream and downstream, is a key objective of a policy for the seas and oceans;

11. Calls for the creation of a European college network for people working in the maritime sector that would be closely linked to maritime research and would promote training for highly skilled workers;

12. Expresses its concern that, while the sector is ready to accept the development of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, as a result of the additional restrictions that might result from the Natura 2000 network and other possible marine protected areas (MPAs), unrestricted access and the fishery activities in these areas might be compromised; takes the view that the development of fishery activities that do not harm the protection objectives should be allowed within MPAs; also takes the view that, in the case of fisheries activities that harm, or potentially harm, the protection objectives of MPAs, greater efforts should be made, including through research and development, to make fishing methods more environmentally friendly in order to facilitate greater access to such areas wherever justifiable;

13. Notes, however, that fishing will have to be restricted in future through a precautionary approach ensuring that we maintain healthy ecosystems and protect rare, vulnerable or valued species and habitats and that this will inevitably mean more environmental protection than before, involving a network of MPAs created in accordance with the provisions laid down within the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and a system of integrated coastal zone management, to ensure that we put a stop to the needless degradation of habitats and sharp decline in biodiversity;

14. Stresses the need for increased scientific research into the interaction between different parts of the marine ecosystem and the effects on the latter of climate change and of human exploitation of natural resources;

15. Calls on the Commission to take due account of successful experiences in fisheries management by local and regional authorities so that they can be applied as models in other regions, particularly those experiences that involve integrated and sustainable management of the sea through a ban on non-selective fishing gear, matching the size of fishing fleets to available resources, coastal planning, regulating tourism activities such as cetacean watching, drawing up management plans for sites in the Natura 2000 network and creating protected areas;

16. Endorses the commitment made by the EU at the Earth Summit in 2002 and reiterated in the recent Commission Communication (Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield) to restore fish populations to levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2015 where possible; is of the view that this is best done by avoiding the use of arbitrary reference points that are based on a simple mathematical model; considers that an alternative interpretation of MSY, using a concept such as maximizing the cumulative catches over a fixed period of time (possibly a decade), could provide a realistic and possible way to improve the status of fisheries in the EU;

17. Calls for increased efforts to end the disgraceful by-catch and discards problem which is a key consequence of the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas regime of the CFP; takes the view that the by-catch depredation of marine mammals, seabirds and turtles is an abhorrence that must be stopped and that, in addition, the damage caused by fishing gear to sensitive seabeds requires that these be given special protection; points out that lost nets also lead to 'ghost-fishing' which can cause considerable fish stock depletion;

18. Urges the Commission to take measures to control illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which is responsible for the depletion of countless stocks of important species; stresses that the sharp decline in stocks of these species as a result of illegal practices may have disastrous consequences for the preservation of marine ecosystems, directly or indirectly affecting other related activities in addition to fishing, such as aquatic ecotourism;

19. Considers that one important way to reduce discards is to improve the selectivity of fishing, through modifications of fishing gear and techniques; recognises that the cooperation and knowledge of fishermen in this matter is essential and that fishermen who are innovative in this sense should be rewarded;

20. Considers that IUU fishing is a large and increasing problem, causing both destruction of valuable fish stocks and unfair competition between fishermen who respect and fishermen who do not respect the rules; notes that, in certain fisheries in the EU, IUU catches are a significant part of the total catch; looks forward to the Commission's forthcoming communication and legislative proposals to combat IUU fishing and update the EU's 2002 Action Plan;

21. Calls on the Commission to take action to control pollutants (environmental pollution of the seas) arising from agricultural run-off, sewage or industrial effluents, or litter, often plastic, which can choke sea mammals, turtles and birds; such pollutants are an increasing hazard, impacting severely on the fisheries sector and on tourism as well as reducing the quality and health of fishery products destined for human consumption; with regard to ocean-going vessels, calls on the Commission to urge Member States to implement IMO MARPOL Annex V, which prohibits the discharge of plastic waste and ash from plastic incineration into the sea; calls on the Commission to amend the Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities to improve the adequacy and availability of such facilities in the EU and ultimately reduce the discard of refuse into the sea;

22. Calls for the trans-shipment of oil or other toxic cargoes at sea to be limited in future to carefully designated zones; there should be appropriate rules for trans-shipment activities in these zones and all trans-shipments must ensure that important areas are protected, in particular where the trans-shipment zones overlap with or border on Natura 2000 areas; compliance with the Birds and Habitats Directives will also need to be guaranteed; shipping contributes to marine pollution and potentially to the disturbance of the ecosystem, through the introduction of alien species in discharged ballast water and the use of chemicals in anti-fouling paints that affect fishes' hormones; oil slicks are also a major maritime hazard;

23. Calls on the Commission to urge Member States to ratify the International Ballast Water and Antifouling Systems Conventions, while also contributing to the effective and practical implementation of MARPOL 73/78, which together cover the risks and impacts of alien invasive species, ballast water and anti-fouling paints from shipping;

24. Believes strongly that there is an urgent need to promote and apply a mapping/spatial planning programme for Community waters in order to answer to the needs of maintaining a sustainable and geographically representative fishery sector; mapping out zones ideally suited for off-shore wind-farms or energy-production or for carbon sequestration and sand and gravel extraction or aquaculture or mapping the location of marine protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites and the location of other sensitive habitats and species would lead to more efficient and sustainable use of our maritime environment; to enable effective spatial planning, areas of fishing activity need to be mapped, and this should be facilitated by improving and standardising access to vessel monitoring systems and logbook data across Member States; considers that planning decisions concerning Community waters should be taken in full consultation with the fisheries sector and the communities directly affected;

25. While bad practice has to be ruled out, points out the importance of non-fishery developments which can be compatible with the fishery sector by, for example, encouraging the design of energy production platforms or wind turbine platforms that help to encourage and sustain a flourishing ecosystem, to help the establishment of nursery and spawning grounds for marine species in a fishing exclusion zone;

26. Calls for the careful planning of maritime renewable energy installations; there are many potential hazards associated with energy production which must be avoided; structures aimed at harnessing wind or wave energy can affect the natural cycles of the lower layer of the sea; estuaries could lose inter-tidal bird feeding areas due to the introduction of barrages that reduce the tidal range; similarly, tidal power changes could affect horse-mussel and flame-shell reefs, maerl beds, anemone and soft corals; points out that some regions with a high energy potential from their sea, such as regions located far from the mainland, are unable to reap the benefits of the trans-European energy networks owing to their geographical isolation;

27. Highlights the increasing socio-economic significance of fish farming as marine fish stocks diminish worldwide; soon, the products of aquaculture sold annually around the world will exceed wild catch; the EU has been at the forefront of this exciting development and should strive to maintain its leadership position and encourage further development in a way that is compatible with other coastal and maritime uses; the importance of fish farming for often remote, rural communities where few other job opportunities exist cannot be over-stressed; within the context of an integrated coastal zone management approach, clearly defined areas where fish farms may be clustered should be promoted and this should be linked to a simplified regulatory regime encouraging entrepreneurship and sustainability; new techniques should be developed in the aquaculture sector enabling improved management of quality, traceability assurance throughout the production and value-added chains and the overall recognition of fish farming as a key stakeholder in the maritime sector;

28. Draws attention to the fact that certain aquaculture practices are contributing to the depletion of some stocks; points out that catching juveniles of certain species in the sea for fattening prevents them from reproducing and ensuring the biological balance between species; takes the view that the high prices that some of these species reach in some world markets lie at the root of this complete disregard for the need to preserve certain marine ecosystems;

29. Points out that military operations also impact on the fisheries sector; marine firing ranges are 'no go' areas for fishing and other forms of shipping, however they can offer havens for biodiversity; nevertheless, the use of ultra low frequency sonar, particularly by submarines, has a serious affect on sea mammals and other fish stocks and should be strictly regulated and confined to zones;

30. Points out that three-dimensional mapping of the seabed will be of immense value not only to the fishing industry but also to the energy sector, conservationists and even defence interests; the significant commercial value of such maps is evident and they may help to solve the question of funding for this activity; improved data across the maritime sector could involve better weather forecasting and information on anticipated wave heights;

31. Supports the establishment of an EU coastguard; this is necessary to tackle marine pollution, illegal immigration and terrorism but it is also required to counter IUU fishing and to raise standards of maritime safety; the new EU Fisheries Control Agency in Vigo should co-ordinate activities with all coastal Member States to ensure a joined-up approach to maritime surveillance; there should be equal enforcement throughout the EU with equal penalties and sanctions being applied in the courts of Member States;

32. Recalls that in paragraph 34 of its resolution of 23 September 2003 on improving safety at sea in response to the Prestige accident(1) it called for the establishment of a European coastguard, a call recently reiterated (paragraph 19 of its resolution of 15 February 2007 on the implementation of the EU action plan against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing(2)); urges the Commission to submit a specific proposal in this field by the end of the year;

33. Stresses the need to monitor fishing in international waters, since this also affects fishery resources in EEZs within the European Union.

PROCEDURE

Title

Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas

Procedure number

2006/2299(INI)]

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

PECH
14.12.2006

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Drafts(wo)man
  Date appointed

Struan Stevenson
21.12.2006

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

25.1.2007

11.4.2007

 

 

 

Date adopted

0.0.0000

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

18

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Jim Allister, Alfonso Andria, Stavros Arnaoutakis, Elspeth Attwooll, Marie-Hélène Aubert, Iles Braghetto, Niels Busk, Paulo Casaca, Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Hélène Goudin, Pedro Guerreiro, Ian Hudghton, Heinz Kindermann, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Philippe Morillon, Struan Stevenson, Catherine Stihler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Raül Romeva i Rueda, Thomas Wise

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Comments (available in one language only)

...

(1)

OJ C 77 E, 26.3.2004, p. 76.

(2)

P6_TA(2007)0044.


PROCEDURE

Title

Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas

Procedure number

2006/2299(INI)

Committee responsible
  Date authorisation announced in plenary

TRAN
14.12.2006

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

ENVI
14.12.2006

ITRE
14.12.2006

PECH
14.12.2006

REGI
14.12.2006

 

Not delivering opinion(s)
  Date of decision

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

ENVI

PECH

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Willi Piecyk
21.9.2006

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Discussed in committee

12.4.2007

7.5.2007

4.6.2007

 

 

Date adopted

5.6.2007

Result of final vote

+

-

0

38

3

1

Members present for the final vote

Robert Atkins, Inés Ayala Sender, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Paolo Costa, Michael Cramer, Arūnas Degutis, Christine De Veyrac, Saïd El Khadraoui, Robert Evans, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Stanisław Jałowiecki, Georg Jarzembowski, Timothy Kirkhope, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Jaromír Kohlíček, Sepp Kusstatscher, Fernand Le Rachinel, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Robert Navarro, Seán Ó Neachtain, Josu Ortuondo Larrea, Willi Piecyk, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Luca Romagnoli, Gilles Savary, Brian Simpson, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Ulrich Stockmann, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Georgios Toussas, Yannick Vaugrenard, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Markus Ferber, Pedro Guerreiro, Elisabeth Jeggle, Anne E. Jensen, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

15.6.2007

Comments
(available in one language only)

 

Last updated: 28 June 2007Legal notice