On 10 March 2020, the European Commission presented its strategy in one of its key priority areas: the New Industrial Strategy, SME strategy and several initiatives to improve the functioning of the Single Market. Below is a summary of the key elements of relevance to the recreational boating industry. EBI will be engaging with the EU institutions to ensure inclusion of the boating sector in the implementation of the strategy.
The main objectives of the strategy are to address the environmental transition, which links it to the European Green deal, and digitalisation. It has a high level of ambition to maintain and grow Europe's industrial leadership. A number of initiatives are announced:
The European Commission recognises that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are crucial to address the key challenges for Europe and support the New Industrial Strategy. Its dedicated SME strategy is based on three pillars: 1) Support for transition to sustainability and digitalisation, 2) Reducing regulatory burden and improving market access and 3) Access to financing. A number of initiatives are announced:
Action Plan for implementation and enforcement of the Single Market
Based on a separate report on the barriers to the Single Market, the Commission published an action plan to address these and better enforce the Single market. The conclusion from the report for the Commission is that compliance with single market rules is lacking with too many barriers for businesses. The Action Plan focuses primarily on national authorities, but has some relevance to industry. A number of initiatives are announced:
All documents can be found in full here.
The Commission’s proposal for the European Climate Law was published. It aims to legislate for the climate-neutrality goal set out in the European Green Deal. This means achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions for EU countries through cutting emissions, investing in green technologies and protecting the natural environment. The law aims to ensure that all EU policies contribute to this goal and that all sectors of the economy and society are involved. It includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust actions. The Climate Law also includes several actions to achieve the 2050 target:
The full proposal can be found here.
The European Commission released its flagship Industrial Strategy and SME Strategy yesterday. European Boating Industry (EBI) welcomes these and their potential to support the recreational boating industry in Europe to sustainably grow, create employment and further develop the sector’s global leadership and environmental transition.
The European Commission presented its new Industrial Strategy that recognises the value of industry and wants to support them in being “future-ready”. It aims to tackle the challenges of environmental transition, as well as digitalisation. It recognises Europe as the “home of industry” and industry as “central to Europe’s future progress and prosperity”. The strategy announces a number of initiatives to support industry to grow and maintain its leadership.
The European Commission also released its SME strategy at the same time. It aims to support small companies in transitioning to sustainability and digitalisation, as well as addressing regulatory burden and improving access to financing. EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill commented on the announcement “The EU Industrial Strategy is an important step to ensure the long-term growth of Europe’s industry. With over 95% SMEs in the boating industry, we particularly welcome the focus on smaller companies that are the backbone of European industry. We look forward to engaging with the European Commission on shaping the industrial ecosystem in the boating sector and turning this strategy into concrete actions.”
EBI is a member of the Industry4Europe coalition of over 150 industry associations. Launched three years ago, it advocates for an ambitious industrial strategy that helps Europe remain a hub for a leading, smart, innovative and sustainable industry, and that provides quality jobs and benefits all Europeans and future generations. The Coalition published its Joint Paper ‘A long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future: from words to action’ in which it presented concrete policy proposals.
The EU Member States authorised the opening of negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the UK and formally nominated the Commission as the EU’s negotiator. The negotiations will be led by Michel Barnier.
The aim of the EU in its negotiation mandate is to achieve an ambitious economic partnership with the UK. The mandate emphasises that the partnership should be underpinned by robust commitments to ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, which will be one of the contentious points in the negotiations. The aim is to establish a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and quotas to trade in goods, as well cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects.
The UK government has likewise released its mandate for the negotiations. Its main aim is a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement covering substantially all trade. It wants to achieve similar provisions as past EU free trade agreements, such as Canada and Japan. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EBI will be engaging with the EU’s negotiation team to provide input from the European recreational boating sector.
The Winter 2020 Economic Forecast published on 13 February projects that the European economy is set to continue a path of steady, moderate growth. It concludes that the Euro area gross domestic product (GDP) growth will remain stable at 1.2% in 2020 and 2021. For the EU as a whole, growth is forecast to reduce slightly to 1.4% in 2020 and 2021, down from 1.5% in 2019.
The full forecast, including country-by-country reports and assessments of the potential economic risks can be found here.
The BlueInvest Day, organised by the European Commission brought together start-ups and investors in the blue economy. It included pitching opportunities, matchmaking and plenary sessions. The recreational boating industry was showcased in several pitches and represented among the many start-ups participating. EBI led this participation as one the showcase organisations selected by the European Commission and was represented with its own stand.
In the plenary sessions, speakers presented the opportunities for public and private funding for the blue economy. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius highlighted the policy dimension, which follows from the European Green Deal. A key part of this is investment in the blue economy that can help the sector to thrive and combine sustainability with business success. This also offers substantial opportunities for companies in the recreational boating industry.
At the BlueInvest Day, the BlueInvest Fund was launched with €75 million equity by the European Commission and European Investment Bank. It will be managed by the European Investment Fund and will provide financing to equity funds that target and support innovation in the blue economy. The condition for funding is that the activity takes place in the marine environment or using marine resources.
The European Commission's BlueInvest platform supports investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups. For more information, please consult the BlueInvest Platform here.
With Croatia currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020, it plays a key role in the EU policy-making process and leads the policy discussions at EU level. An EBI delegation therefore met with Ambassador Goran Štefanić (Deputy Permanent Representative, Croatian Permanent Representation to the EU) and Nevenka Žiža (First Secretary for Transport, Croatian Permanent Representation to the EU) to discuss the key issues for the boating industry.
The importance of sustainability for boating industry was highlighted, including circular economy, EU funding for environmental transition and the importance of marinas as connecting point for citizens and marine environment. Furthermore, the role of tourism as an increasingly important and growing aspect of the recreational boating industry was underlined.
Several meetings of national ministers will address the issue of sustainable tourism and maritime industry during the Croatian presidency, including meetings of national Tourism Ministers and Transport Ministers. Tourism is an important element for the country’s Council presidency, and it wants to develop a European tourism brand and to develop tourism opportunities. The EBI delegation was made up of Robert Marx (Council member, EBI & President, BVWW), Yves Lyon-Caen (President, FIN) and Philip Easthill (Secretary-General, EBI).
The EBI delegation also met with the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries to introduce the recreational boating industry and its key priorities at highest political level. The discussion focused on the importance of sustainability for the boating industry, the need for mutual recognition of boating and skipper licenses through a clear legal framework at EU level and the overall challenges and trends in the industry.
The 2020 edition of the International Breakfast meeting, co-organised by boot Düsseldorf and EBI on 21 January focused on the topic of sustainable boating. The European Green Deal, which has the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent was at the centre of the discussions followed by talks from electric, hybrid, hydrogen and digital innovators.
Drawing a record crowd of over 180 participants, the International Breakfast Meeting placed sustainability at the heart of the discussions. Welcoming participants, Petros Michelidakis (Director, boot Düsseldorf) said “Over 10 percent of the EU’s population participates in water sports and they want this to take place in a clean environment. The International Breakfast Meeting is the ideal location to discuss the key trends for our sector and proactively develop the future of sustainable boating.”
In his remarks, EBI President Jean-Pierre Goudant highlighted that “For our sector, moving towards sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint is crucial. As EBI, we see this as one of our key challenges for the coming years that we will advocate for. The International Breakfast Meeting clearly shows that our industry is innovating and proceeding on the right path.”
The keynote speech was given by Dr Artur Runge-Metzger (Director, European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action). He presented the European Green Deal, which strives to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 through a transformation towards environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. He highlighted the growth opportunities that this offers across all industries, including upcoming funding opportunities.
Laurent Perignon (Energy Observer Developments) presented the Energy Observer project, which uses a vessel as a test case to study various innovative technologies based on hydrogen. These have been tested, optimised and validated on its global travel. He also addressed upcoming bans of diesel engines in parts of Europe and the growth of marine protected areas as reasons for needing to focus on carbon neutrality in the marine sector. Energy Observer Developments has implemented several hydrogen solutions, including electro-hydrogen gensets for marine use with power ranging from 30 to 100 KVA running exclusively on hydrogen.
Vladimir Zinchenko (CEO, Greenline Yachts) presented the company, which produces vessels with hybrid, electric and Diesel engines. The aim is to shape the future of responsible boating through hybrid engines and ensure that the boats are easy to use for customers and provide the necessary comfort. He underlined that hybrid propulsion has the potential to attract boaters through the comfort of silence, constant power supply and cost savings.
Marteen Bernhart (Founder, La Bella Verde) presented the company, which runs catamaran day charters on Ibiza with new franchises in Brazil and Sidney. The catamarans are autonomous and use solar power and hydro-generation. A new area of their work are sustainable materials for the building of boats to address end-of-life recycling concerns, which La Bella Verde is doing through the development of a fully recyclable boat. In addition, their day-charter catamarans clean the oceans through nets that can be lowered into the water.
Simon Bühl (Founder & CEO, BrandUp Factory) provided an overview of the cross-over between digitisation and sustainability and the need for companies in the marine sector to move towards a big data-driven business model. The aim should be a structured collection and retention of data and a business model based on collaboration and adapted business culture.
Concluding the event, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are convinced that the environmental transformation of our industry will create new opportunities for growth in our sector. This must be based on three key pillars: Industry innovation, research and innovation funding, as well as policy that promotes sustainability. These are among the key topics for EBI in the coming years. We want sustainable boating to be made in Europe.”
To receive the presentations from the event, please contact the Secretary-General (pe(at)europoeanboatingindustry.eu).
EBI met with Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and key leadership staff to discuss the agency’s new strategy, its new work on recreational boating and common priorities around environmental sustainability and maritime safety.
The discussions centred on the new strategy of the agency covering the period 2020-2024 that will focus on recreational boating for the first time. EBI and EMSA will be working together on topics related to maritime safety and environmental sustainability to develop concrete outcomes.
Both organisations share an understanding of the importance of maritime safety and environmental sustainability. EBI will be engaging with EMSA to develop a positive approach to the issues and represent the European recreational boating industry. The meeting took place at the Lisbon headquarters of EMSA with the EBI delegation consisting of Philip Easthill, Secretary-General of EBI and Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Research Department Manager, Confindustria Nautica.
EMSA provides technical expertise and operational assistance to improve maritime safety, pollution preparedness and response and maritime security. It is an official EU agency and its mission is to serve EU’s maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector. EMSA works on maritime safety, security, climate, environment and single market issues.
Following the European Commission’s presentation of the European Green Deal, the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan was presented. Its aim is to mobilise public investment and unlock private funds through EU financial instruments. This should have an overall value of at least €1 trillion. It is based on three dimensions:
The full proposal on the Sustainable Investment Plan can be found here. EBI will be working with the EU institutions to ensure that the recreational boating industry is supported in its transition towards sustainability and inform the sector about funding opportunities.