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EFIP Summer Newsletter July 2019

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EFIP Summer Newsletter July 2019

As summer is now in full swing and “political” Brussels is becoming calmer, we are looking back at the recent inland ports developments in Europe.

An important milestone was the finalisation of the EFIP Strategy at our General Assembly in Aalborg. The strategy outlines the vision of inland ports in the European logistics network. We will be implementing this strategy in the coming years.

As EFIP spent the first half of this year looking to the future, the EU has been looking in the same direction. The transition from the Juncker to the von der Leyen Commission not only includes new faces, it also includes the setting out of new ambitious objectives. Where the Juncker Commission focused on a “fair” EU, especially regarding social and employment rules, the new Commission has put the climate front and centre.

But as the new Commissioners are announced in the coming weeks with their portfolios being assigned, an even more important debate will commence. Over the next year, the EU will have to finalise its longer-term budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). This long-term budget sets all EU income and spending on its various programmes. The current MFF debate revolves around the role of cohesion funding, future-proofing spending and the expansion of the MFF. All the while Brexit looms large as the UK’s departure leads to a smaller budget.

The MFF discussion will prove vital for European transport generally and inland ports especially in order to address the climate change challenge, both mitigation and adaptation. European support will be indispensable to achieve this. As the MFF discussion keeps all the European institutions in their grip, the European inland ports make their voice heard.


European Parliament

The European Parliament elections have changed the landscape in Europe but not in the way that was projected. The Eurosceptic parties did not grow to a large unified block. They have shown since the elections that they are unable to form a cross-country coalition strong enough to block proceedings, only being able to form the Identity and Democracy (ID). On the other hand, both Renew (formerly ALDE) and the Greens grew to such an extent that the Greens are even larger than ID, making them the 4thlargest group. All of this came at the expense of the traditionally largest groups EPP and S&D. Even though both of them remain the number one and two groups respectively, they both lost around 30 seats each.

All of these changes  show a predominantly pro-European Parliament. Whereas in the past a two party consensus was enough to get things done, it will now require a three party consensus at the very minimum.


The Committees of the Parliament have already had their first session and elected their Chairs and vice Chairs.

Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN)

Chair: Karima Delli (Greens, France)

1st Vice-Chair: Johan Danielsson (S&D, Sweden)
2nd Vice-Chair: Sven Schulze (EPP, Germany)
3rd Vice-Chair: István Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary)
4th Vice-Chair: Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew Europe, Germany)

Environment Committee (ENVI)

Chair: Pascal Canfin (Renew Europe, France)

1st Vice-Chair: Bas Eickhout (Greens, Netherlands)
2nd Vice-Chair: Seb Dance (S&D, UK)
3rd Vice-Chair: Cristian-Silviu Busoi (EPP, Romania)
4th Vice-Chair: Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, Netherlands)

Please find below the full lists for both the TRAN and ENVI Committees:

European Commission

Last week, the European Parliament approved new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Von der Leyen was elected by a narrow majority of 383 votes, only nine more than the required qualified majority. The new president (EPP) was previously the German Minister of Defense for the CDU (EPP). She was put forward by the European Council after European leaders were unable to agree on one of the Spitzenkandidaten.

Von der Leyen presented her Commission’s political priorities. She proposes a new EU climate target of 55% by 2030, a climate-neutral economy by 2050, a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan to support €1 trillion of investments as well as the inclusion of shipping in the ETS. Von der Leyen’s other tentpole priority is to further digitalisation. She further underlined the need for a zero-pollution objective addressing air and water quality and a new Circular Economy Action Plan. These priorities are similar to the priorities outlined in the EFIP Strategy.

More details can be found here.

The majority of the new Commissioners have yet to be announced. More details are expected to come forward by late August/early September. The portfolios that are a priority for EFIP, namely transport, climate and energy, environment, etc., will be assigned in September and will be followed by a confirmatory hearing in the Parliament. The new Commission is expected to take up office in November 2019.

Returning Commissioners

  • Margrethe Vestager (Denmark)
  • Frans Timmermans (Netherlands)
  • Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia)
  • Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria)
  • Phil Hogan (Ireland)
  • Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia)

New Commissioners 

  • Josep Borrell (Spain)
  • Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg)
  • Kadri Simson (Estonia)
  • László Trócsányi (Hungary)
  • Jutta Urpilainen (Finland)


While the co-legislative process has had ground to halt since the start of the election campaign, the pre-legislative process has not. Important consultations for inland ports ran until the summer. These consultations are one of the primary sources of input and information that the European Commission uses to draft future legislation.


The Trans-European Network – Transport (TEN-T) is the cornerstone of the European transport policy. Its objectives set out to complete an optimised and future-proof European transport network by 2050. The underling legislation has to be reviewed by 2021 in order to adapt to lessons learned and market changes. In preparation, the European Commission launched its consultation, asking for recommendations and possible improvements.

As enablers of green logistics, TEN-T is essential to the European inland ports. Throughout the spring months, the newly formed EFIP Infrastructure and Investment Committee exchanged experiences and recommendations. EFIP’s position on the TEN-T Consultation was drafted from this collaboration.

You can find the full position paper here.


The European Commission has been revising its State-Aid rules for a couple of years now. The consultation of this summer focused on transport issues, with an emphasis on rail topics. For inland ports it was important to already have a strong position on these rules. Inland port are reliant to state-aid and the rules can often be problematic, with cumbersome notification rules and other administrative burdens.

The creation of this position from an inland port perspective proved important for the future. After this summer, the Commission will launch a consultation on the review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). Two years ago, the GBER proved to be a priority topic for inland ports and this consultation will require a strong position again.


Beer transport in the Port of Brussels

Belgian beer brewer Lindemans together with JF Hillebrand will start transporting their beer from Trimodal Terminal Brussels. This will cover container transport destined for the US and Canada.
27 May 2019 | Read more

EFIP members meet in Aalborg (DK): Election of a new President and discussion on Inland Ports within Europe’s Green Growth and Climate Policy

On 3 May 2019, EFIP members gathered in Aalborg (Denmark) for their annual General Assembly meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Port of Aalborg.
07 May 2019 | Read more


Port Highlight: Port of Aalborg

EFIP’s 2019 General Assembly took place in Aalborg. This Port Highlight will give you more information on the Port of Aalborg.
01 May 2019 | Read more


Upgrade of the Iron Gate I Navigational Lock

Works and Supervision of Works, two major public procurement within the project “The Upgrade of the Iron Gate I Navigational Lock” in Serbia, have been finalised. This marks a major milestone of the project. The project is co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme.
19 April 2019 | Read more


Launch of the “Concordia EU 2019” Danube Vessel

On 26 March 2019, a marking vessel has been launched in Giurgiu (Romania) by Romanian Transport Minister Razvan Cuc, European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, Rhine-Danube Core Network Corridor European Coordinator Karla Peijs and INEA Director Dirk Beckers.
29 March 2019 | Read more


European Parliament adopts final agreement on the Connecting Europe Facility for 2021-2027

On 25 March the European Parliament adopted its final agreement with the European Council for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the 2021-2027 period negotiated by Rapporteurs Marinescu, Telička and Virkkunen.
26 March 2019 | Read more


EFIP welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament resolution on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport

On February 14th, the European Parliament adopted its Resolution on Inland Waterway Transport in the European Union, considering the specific actions undertaken so far and future actions to be implemented, also in the light of the NAIADES II action programme 2014-2020 onwards.
14 February 2019 | Read more

Upgrade of Gabčíkovo locks

The first major milestone of the project “Upgrade of Gabčíkovo locks” has been reached on 31st January 2019, with the signature of the contract valued at €149,997,450 excluding VAT. The project is co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme.
06 February 2019 | Read more

Annual Report 2018

Read the EFIP Annual Report 2018.
10 January 2019 | Read more


EFIP took part in the public hearing on the role of inland waterways in the intermodal transport system during the TRAN Committee meeting at the Parliament on 18 March 2019.

Turi Fiorito, EFIP Director, at the Danube Ports Network official launch event on 10 April 2019 in Vienna.


Green Inland Shipping – 16 October 2019

EFIP 25th Anniversary

The European Federation of Inland Port will celebrate this year its 25th Anniversary. The reception, which is kindly hosted by the CCNR and the Port of Strasbourg, will take place in Strasbourg on 23 October 2019.

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