EU Parliament head blasts national interest as anti-European
In last week’s news brief, ShipInsight covered the dispute between Italy and France that has blown up over Fincantieri’s proposed takeover of the STX yard in France. The partly state-owned yard has been temporarily nationalised by President Macron on the basis that it is an important element in French national and defence interests despite a previously agreed takeover by the Italian state-owned builder. The French position has not been well received by Antonio Tajani the Italian President of the European Parliament since January 2017 who has gone on record criticising the French President’s action by saying > “It is Europe that must protect its interests. National interest not included in the European context makes us marginal and this applies to France, Germany and Italy”. It is hard to know if Mr Tajani’s ire is due to his position as head of the EU parliament or if he feels his own nationality has been slighted but the sentiments expressed will likely not sit well with the peoples of Europe who for the most part do not see themselves as Europeans above all else. It is clear that even away from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US, people may accept globalisation in some ways but still wish to retain national identities and interests. When it comes to shipping matters, European nations have never really embraced a common position although dealing with the EU has meant that national organisations have needed to form bodies such as ECSA and ESPO as the EU will not listen to views from individual states. For shipowners, it is their own interests that come before national or European ones not least because it is their own money and profitability which is always on the line. In pursuing a European line, the EU has never really been a friend of owners and operators as is evidenced by the demands placed upon ships registered in member states that do not apply to ships registered elsewhere.