Baltic and European news
Ministers vague on plan for greener maritime sector
EU transport ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday endorsed a long-term "zero-vision" for reducing emissions and waste from maritime transport but failed to respond to specific suggestions from the European commission on how to achieve this goal.
Ministers were reacting to a ten-year plan from the commission to increase the competitiveness of the European maritime sector and improve its environmental performance by 2018 (EE 21/01/09 http://www.endseurope.com/20429).
A resolution adopted on Monday includes no mention of several suggestions for action made by the commission such as strengthening EU legislation on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residue and improving its implementation, and modulating registration fees, port dues and other charges to promote greener shipping.
The ministers reiterated EU support for an international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions from ships to be agreed by the International maritime organisation (IMO) in July and approved by 2011.
The commission is invited to create "favourable conditions" for short-sea shipping and to make sure implementation of international rules such as IMO limits on nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide emissions does not lead to a modal shift from sea to road (EE 10/10/08 http://www.endseurope.com/15620).
A separate ministerial resolution notes that short-sea shipping is an effective way of reducing congestion and the environmental impact of road transport and welcomes commission initiatives to promote it.
*Meanwhile, transport ministers rubber-stamped a first-reading agreement with the European parliament on clean vehicle procurement (EE 22/10/08 http://www.endseurope.com/15652). The law, which requires public authorities to consider the environmental impacts of vehicles they buy, will enter force after publication in the EU's official journal.
Follow-up: EU council of ministers http://consilium.europa.eu/showPage.aspx?lang=EN&id=1 plus agenda
background information http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/trans/106955.pdf,
and ministerial resolutions on maritime transport policy to 2018
and short-sea shipping http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/trans/106973.pdf
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