The European Parliament has officially adopted the Berendsen report, an own-initiative report on "building a comprehensive European ports strategy", with 585 votes in favor, 21 against and 26 abstentions. The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the Parliament´s recognition and support for the strategic and vital role played by European ports for the continent´s society and economy.
In addition to being the Union´s gateways to the world, logistics nodes and industrial clusters, European ports are energy centers. As the last two years have shown, ports play a crucial role in ensuring Europe´s energy security and, at the same time, are facilitators and even accelerators of the energy transition. Ports require major public and private investments to assume all these responsibilities and continue their development.
In the current geo-economic and geopolitical context, it is clear that the strategic role of ports is becoming more important. Europe needs strong ports and strong supply chains. ESPO therefore supports the Parliament´s request to harmonize measures to strengthen the resilience and protection of European critical infrastructure, including ports.
Ports are looking forward to the proposed revision of the current Foreign Direct Investment Regulation, which will be published next week. For ESPO, this revision should oblige all EU Member States to implement a system of foreign direct investment controls and to carry out such controls in a more harmonized way.
This should improve the necessary level playing field within Europe and contribute to greater legal certainty for potential investors interested in investing in European ports. ESPO welcomes that the report underlines the importance of a more stable investment climate and predictability in investment assessments.
ESPO also welcomes the Parliament´s focus on bringing the competitiveness of European ports to the forefront, which carries important messages. The Parliament calls for support for the role of ports in the energy transition, in particular in terms of developing hydrogen infrastructure in ports, as well as streamlining permitting procedures.
In addition, it calls for avoiding carbon and business leakage, reducing excessive administrative burden, boosting hinterland connections to and from ports, and providing dedicated port envelopes under the Connecting Europe Facility.
Overall, ESPO believes that this report should pave the way for an approach that ensures a fair balance between strengthening Europe´s security and competitiveness, on the one hand, and safeguarding an open trading and investment environment, as well as the resilience of strong supply chains vital to European society and economy, on the other.
Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO has expressed that "this report of the Parliament is a solid document and comes at an opportune time. Ports in Europe are in transition, both in their traditional role as gateways to trade and hubs in supply chains, and in their new roles as facilitators of Europe´s important transitions. This will only be sustainable if there is a stable support policy, which provides certainty and helps ports to remain competitive, even against ports outside Europe. For us, supporting and enabling ports to maintain their important role, prepare and ´build´ for their new roles in achieving Europe´s ambitions, is the best possible port strategy."
ESPO highlights the importance of the implementation of legislation put in place in recent years. Ports in Europe have been working with many new (European) legislative initiatives, specifically since 2017, ranging from the Port Services Regulation and the revised General Block Exemption Regulation, to the Foreign Direct Investment Regulation, the Regulation on Distortive Foreign Subsidies, the Network and Information Systems Security Directive, the Critical Entities Regulation and the relevant pillars of the Fit for 55 Package. For ESPO, it is now important to see that these regulations are properly implemented and progress is made in achieving the ambitions, before launching reviews and taking further action.
News and image obtained: "El Estrecho Digital"
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