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ECSA welcomes the communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU

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ECSA welcomes the communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU

Martin Dorsman

The European Commission published yesterday its communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU. This communication highlights the important role of all the sectors related to oceans, including shipping, to boost the green and digital transition of the blue economy.

ECSA welcomes the publication of the communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU. The communication highlights the importance of the contribution of the blue economy to achieve carbon neutrality, by developing offshore renewable energy and by greening maritime transport and ports.

Furthermore, the Commission aims at promoting the use of EU funds to green maritime transport by increasing the uptake of short-sea shipping instead of using more polluting modes, as well as renovating the EU’s maritime fleet, such as passenger ships and supply vessels for offshore installations, to improve their energy efficiency.

In addition, the communication underlines the importance of Maritime Spatial Planning to reach a more sustainable blue economy. ECSA think that ensuring a fair and responsible co-existence between the sea users, including shipping, is essential. ECSA thus welcomes the Commission’s announced objective to prepare proposals to facilitate cross-border cooperation and encourage Member States to integrate offshore renewable energy development in their national spatial plans.

The communication rightly highlights the crucial role of shipping in the sustainable blue economy, in particular the role of short sea shipping and of the offshore segment,” said Martin Dorsman – ECSA Secretary-General. As highlighted in ECSA’s position paper on the EU “Strategy to harness the potential of offshore renewable energy for a climate neutral future” European shipowners play a constructive role in advancing the ocean energy source in Europe and around the world. A sustainable blue economy needs to be built on a strong maritime spatial planning, to ensure that the highest level of safety is guaranteed for all the sea users, including shipping.

However, ECSA is deeply concerned that the Commission seems to be determined to extend the scope of the Ship Recycling Regulation before a proper evaluation of the existing legislation and an impact assessment takes place. Such an announcement does not seem to be evidence based, goes against the Commission’s better regulation principle, and creates uncertainty for operators.

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