Last Updated on Thursday, 21 September, 2023 at 11:06 am by Andre Camilleri
The maritime sector plays a strategic role in Europe’s future competitiveness. From energy-security to food-security and security of supply, shipping brings the goods and raw-materials to the continent that the European economies and societies need. At the same time, we are facing some of the greatest challenges of all time with the green and digital transitions.
This was stated by Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia during the European Shipping Summit held in Brussels.
This Summit brought together policy makers, regulators, and stakeholders from the maritime world, including keynote speakers and panel members like former Portuguese Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission Joe Manuel Barroso, MEP Vera Tax and MEP Karima Delli.
During his intervention, Minister Farrugia underlined the strategic importance of the Maritime industry which Europe cannot afford to overlook, the importance of the shipping industry which contributes 15% of Malta’s GDP, and the competitive edge which the European Union has with owning 40% of the current global shipping fleet.
He referred to Europe’s carbon neutrality and climate change objectives of net zero by 2050 which he defines as important, as well as the strategic importance of ensuring security of supply of food, medicine, and energy, particularly following the pandemic as well as the geo-political events in Ukraine. In delivering these important objectives, the shipping industry plays a key enabling role and in that regard there is the need to ensure that the industry faces a fair level playing field with respect to operators from third countries who run unencumbered by EU rules and regulations, as also echoed by fellow panellist, former President Barroso.
Farrugia warned that Europe cannot afford a scenario where EU regulations give rise to the unintended outcome where shipping business and transhipment activity from EU ports located in the Mediterranean is diverted to third countries, thus resulting in carbon leakage whilst threatening the competitiveness of European Shipping industry and Ports.
Minister Farrugia concluded by saying that Europe’s leadership in the maritime industry brings with it huge responsibilities including the setting of standards in decarbonisation, digitalisation, innovation but also in avoiding environmental disasters.