European shipping bodies call for delay in consultations
Four shipping organisations; ECSA, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA Europe), the European Dredging Association (EuDA) and Interferry, have sent a joint letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, requesting that all public consultations and impact assessments be put on hold, due to the current specific situation created by the COVID-19 outbreak.
"This unprecedented situation has an effect on the ability of our associations to provide accurate and timely feedback on ongoing consultations. Input from the shipowners themselves is a prerequisite for meaningful feedback. The lack of direct input from shipowners to their national shipowners associations negatively affects the ability of the European Commission’s departments to accurately assess the impact of the proposed legislative options through Impact Assessment processes which are due in the near future," wrote the four associations in the letter.
Also, the request highlighted that since impact assessments are usually based on data from the previous year – in this case 2019, the landscape in Europe from a financial, business, social and employment point of view will severely change in the coming months, when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more clearly visible. The situation by the end of the year will on all accounts will be completely different from what we know so far.
To this effect, the four maritime sectoral partners call for the freezing of the public consultations and impact assessments for a period of at least six months, so that the resumption of those procedures would coincide with the planned resumption of activities in the European Parliament in September.
The four organisations also reiterated their support for the European Commission's Climate ambitions, while called for the EU to be a united, pro-active and positive voice at the International Maritime Organization. In view of the current suspension of all IMO meetings, the shipping industry also asks the European Commission and the other European institutions to push back all related time schedule pre-dating COVID-19 in order to align it with the IMO schedule.
Currently, European shipping companies are doing their best to ensure supplies and goods still reach Europe and other crucial maritime activities are carried out, with seafarers and other maritime personnel doing a tremendous job under very challenging conditions. Thanks to the recent guidelines for the repatriation of crew and passengers by the European Commission, the industry now has the basis for the changes that need to happen on the ground.
ECSA considers that this unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented reactions. For Europe to ensure the survival of its strategically important maritime industry, more concerted and targeted actions will be required. It therefore calls on all the European institutions to swiftly adopt a targeted rescue and recovery plan for the maritime sector.