THE European Sea Port Organisation has officially welcomed the European Commission’s “firm intention to develop an integrated maritime policy for the European Union”. It says that European seaports stand to gain from a better coordination of policy objectives at EU level as it will enhance legal certainty for both daily operations and development projects.
ESPO also commends the EC’s Maritime Task Force for the “constructive and pleasant spirit” with which it organised the consultation on the Maritime Policy Green Paper that preceded the publication of the EC’s “Blue Book”.
ESPO says it will actively follow-up the various action points announced in the new maritime policy. In 2008 it plans to focus on:
* recommendations as to how the use of planning instruments can be improved to guarantee more legal certainty for port operations and port development projects; * the implementation of the European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers; * the implementation of the Commission’s new ports policy, including in particular the guidelines on the application of Community environment legislation to port development; * regulatory bottlenecks related to EU environmental legislation; * ongoing legislative proposals related to management of water bodies and sediments; * survey on climate change initiatives taken by port authorities in Europe; * proposal for a major EU-sponsored study on the socio-economic impact of ports; * initiative to encourage ports to enhance their public image and support for open port days.