Meeting on Maritime Industries
Meeting of the Intergroup – “Growth opportunities for maritime industries - Cross-cutting perspectives about shipbuilding, marine renewable energies, and oil & gas”
The meeting was an opportunity for the MEPs to exchange views on maritime industries with representative from the Coastal Regions and the Industry.
MEP Ricardo SERRÃO SANTOS and Mr Christophe CLERGEAU, 1st Vice-President, Pays de la Loire Region, opened the discussions.
R&D, Energy & Climate policies, drivers for maritime industries
Rob STEVENSON, Vice-President for marine energies, ALSTOM, Ocean Energy Europe, stressed that Europe, by accepting heavy investments conducted in the field of Ocean Energy, could participate significantly in the development of new industries in the maritime sector. He highlighted the need for a far more integrated and proactive approach from the EU regarding Maritime Industries.
Filipe PORTEIRO, Regional Director for Maritime Affairs, Azores explained that the sea is a priority for the Azores. The Region is intending to offer the possibility for demonstrations and trials of innovations. All the existing funds are relevant to Blue Growth but additional tools are needed.
Steven HEDDLE, Orkney, President of the CPMR Islands Commission, said that Marine Renewable Energies (MRE) are a huge opportunity for the islands and a step towards excellence in maritime industries in Europe. He identified the absence of infrastructures and markets in Europe in order to export the production of renewable energy as the main challenges the sector has to tackle. He feared that support from the Strategic Investment Plan could be limited for the projects the Islands need.
Tom-Christer NILSEN, President of the CPMR North Sea Commission, stressed that we need to put forward the idea of building a high quality North Sea grid to transport energy. The main barriers arethat simple cables will only lead to efficient services for some Regions, and will not reduce the costs and drawbacks as much as a high-quality grid would. The first step of this initiative will be very costly and will have to be supported by public means.
Pierre KARLESKIND, Brittany, CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission, highlighted the need for an integrated strategy for maritime industries including MRE. He also mentioned the Atlantic Arc Commission’s political statement in this regard calling for financial support for R&D and connection to the grid, initiating a suitable framework to facilitate the development of MRE, developing, promoting and harmonising professional training.
George ALEXAKIS, Crete, Vice-President of the CPMR in charge of Maritime Affairs referred to the other Regions’ claims, highlighting the necessity to take the specific geographical characteristics of each Region into consideration. He stressed the need for an integrated approach to maritime industries at EU level and asked for a European Integrated Strategy for Maritime Industry.
Access to finance for maritime industries
Isabelle THOMAS, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Seas, Rivers, Islands & Coastal Areas Intergroup, regretted that there is no such a thing as a budget line for maritime activities in the EU budget. Therefore, maritime industries are not a priority for the EU. However, she explained that in its report on the Strategic Investment Plan, the European Parliament opened the door to maritime industries and excluded Horizon 2020 from the provision for investors. She called for the creation of budget linesdevoted to maritime industries and for better targeting of allocated funds.
Jean-Philippe NEAU, Directeur des financements, STX, explained that his company needs very high qualifications and skills to compete with Asia. He regretted that at EU level the European Investment Bank (EIB) is not playing the role it should play in supporting the shipbuilding sector due to its unsuitable credit policy. He called for the establishment of an EIB framework suited to the needs of European shipbuilders in order to unlock the potential of the sector in terms of job creation.
Tiina PERHO, South-West Finland, explained that the Finnish government offered important support to maritime industries. The investors are nowadays cautious and slow down the financing of operational phase following the development phases. LeaderSHIP 2020 should be pushed further. Circular economy is also a good reflection axis for further development in financing means.
Drew RATTER, Shetland, stated that it is vital for peripheral Regions to develop a rational system for access to finance. In Shetland there is a Community Fund which could be developed and serve as an example for the elaboration of further tools.
MEP Ricardo SERRAO SANTOS and Mr Christophe CLERGEAU concluded the meeting. They stressed the need for a stabilised European legal framework for MRE to offer the visibility and safety the industry needs in order to achieve the growth and jobs that the sector can deliver. They reflected on the concerns and needs of the speakers, calling for a more integrated and proactive approach from the EU with regard to maritime industries.
|Location||European Parliament Brussels|