Representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the maritime industry and maritime Flagship Projects under the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) on may 30th 2017 convened in Brussels to discuss the potentials and future priorities for maritime safety and security and clean shipping in the Baltic Sea Region.
Cooperation is needed if the aim of making the Baltic Sea Region a global frontrunner in terms of clean and safe shipping is to be achieved. Already now, the region has strong competences in the maritime field, but cross-sectorial cooperation is needed to strengthen its position. This was highlighted by all panellists as being just as important as transnational cooperation.
Enforcement in focus
In a region under great pressure from environmental regulation, it is necessary to focus on enforcement of existing regulations rather than on the adoption of new rules. This was stressed in a panel debate where, inter alia, Danish Member of the European Parliament Bendt Bendtsen participated. Generally, also the representatives from the industry and the Commission as well as several of the Flagship Projects present focused on greener shipping and enforcement of environmental regulations.
Improving maritime education and training to meet the demands of tomorrow
Another important problem which was stressed by several speakers during the event was the need to maintain and develop high-quality maritime education and training institutions around the Baltic Sea. The competitiveness of the region's global maritime industry depends on the ability to supply a highly skilled maritime workforce. A workforce capable of coping with a future where digital solutions and autonomy are likely to play a more prominent role than is the case today. E-Navigation and digital solutions are already high on the region's agenda and they have a great potential for securing increased efficiency and safety in the maritime industry. These projects may also help minimise the environmental impact of shipping on the delicate ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.
The Brussels seminar
The seminar had been organised by the Danish Maritime Authority, in its capacity as Policy Area Coordinator for the Policy Area on Clean Shipping (PA Ship) under the EUSBSR, and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) which is – together with the Danish Maritime Authority – the Policy Area Coordinator for the Policy Area on Maritime Safety and Security (PA Safe). At the seminar, various issues were considered which the maritime industry in the Baltic Sea Region is faced with.
Facts about the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)
The EUSBSR was adopted by the European Council in October 2009 and is Europe’s first macro-regional strategy. The Strategy aims at reinforcing cooperation and actions within the Baltic Sea Region, in order to meet major challenges by working together, as well as promoting a balanced development in the area. The Strategy is divided into several policy areas, among those PA Safe and PA Ship.