boot Düsseldorf will be hosting the “Sea Tourism Summit: Navigating a sea of opportunities” event. It will take place on Friday, 17 January 2020 and will cumulate in a celebratory gala dinner where former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will give the keynote speech. Eminent leaders from politics, business, the EU and international institutions will participate in this dialogue on maritime tourism.
More information and tickets here.
A European Commission fitness check of the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive and the associated Directives concluded that they are fit for purpose with room for enhanced effectiveness. This means that no legislative changes are recommended, but focus will be on implementation. Despite improvements in the protection of water bodies, the evaluation points to insufficient level of implementation by Member States and by sectors with a heavy impact on water.
The results of the evaluation of the Water Framework Directive are mixed. On the one hand, it has been successful in setting up a governance framework for water management for water bodies in the EU, slowing down the deterioration of water status and reducing chemical pollution. On the other hand, implementation of the Directive has been significantly delayed. As a result, less than half of the EU’s water bodies are in good status, even though the deadline for achieving this was 2015.
The fact that the Directive’s objectives have not been fully reached is largely due to insufficient funding, slow implementation and insufficient integration of environmental objectives in sectoral policies, rather than deficiencies in the legislation. The insufficient level of implementation by Member States and by those sectors of the economy with an impact on water has come to the forefront across the evaluation and all Directives.
The fitness check also concluded that the Water Framework Directive is sufficiently flexible to accommodate emerging challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and pollutants of emerging concern (e.g. micro-plastics and pharmaceuticals). Chemicals is a key area where there is room to improve and to achieve better results.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) released Europe’s state of the environment report for 2020. This is published by the EEA every five years since 1995 and is now in its 6th edition. The EEA is an official EU agency that provides independent information on the environment.
The 2020 report comes to the conclusion that European environment and climate policies have helped to improve the environment over recent decades, but progress is insufficient and the outlook for the environment in the coming decade is not positive. It analysed the achievement of meeting 2020 and 2030 policy targets, as well as longer term 2050 goals.
The report notes that Europe has already made significant progress over the past two decades in terms of climate change mitigation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Signs of progress are also evident in other areas, such as tackling air and water pollution and the introduction of new policies to tackle plastic waste and bolster climate change adaptation and the circular and bio-economy.
Overall environmental trends in Europe have however not improved since the last EEA state of the environment report in 2015. The assessment notes that while most of the 2020 targets will not be achieved, especially those on biodiversity, there is still a chance to meet the longer-term goals and objectives for 2030 and 2050. Recent trends highlight a slowing down of progress in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, industrial emissions, waste generation, improving energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy. It concludes that the current rate of progress will not be enough to meet 2030 and 2050 climate and energy targets.
The report outlines seven key areas where bold action is needed to get Europe back on track to achieve its 2030 and 2050 goals and ambitions. These are:
The European Commission published the European Green Deal, which is the flagship initiative of the European Commission to tackle climate change and environmental challenges. It is a roadmap to make EU's economy sustainable and addressing climate and environmental challenges.
The European Green Deal provides a roadmap with actions to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy and stop climate change, revert biodiversity loss and cut pollution. It also sets out the investments needed, as well as the tools to ensure a just and inclusive transition. It includes the outline of the future European Climate law, which will enshrine the ambition of being the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050. Other elements of the European Green Deal will also be presented by the Commission in the near future, such as the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the new Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan and proposals for pollution-free Europe.
While the exact impact and relevance for the recreational boating industry will become clearer in the coming months, some elements are foreseen that may be relevant
EBI will be engaging with the EU institutions to provide input to the actions laid out in the European Green Deal as a partner in tackling climate change and as a beneficiary of a clean environment and healthy oceans. The full European Green Deal can be found here.
A presentation of the European Green Deal from the European Commission will also take place at the International Breakfast Meeting (IBM) at boot Düsseldorf on 21 January. More information can be found here.
Taking over the Council Presidency from Finland in the first half of 2020, Croatia has released its official programme outlining its plans and priorities. It will be leading the Council of the EU until June. The programme announced by Croatia centres around the presidency’s four key priorities:
A Europe that develops
A Europe that connects
A Europe that protects
An influential Europe.
Among the policy areas that the Croatian presidency will take forward some of interest to the recreational boating industry. It will include a focus on fighting climate change and protecting the environment through policies such as circular economy, protection of the marine environment and protecting coastal areas from pollution. The presidency will also promote sustainable tourism and overall sustainability of coastal and island communities. Another area of its work will be to take a leading role on the international stage in fighting climate change.
Other relevant policy priorities are to strengthen European industry and SMEs, as well as targeted development of green technologies and innovation. Trade also features as a priority regarding the safeguarding of multilateral rule-based trade and a strengthening of EU-US relations.
The full programme can be found here.
Based on the outcomes of projects funded under the European Cooperation Programme for the Mediterranean area (the Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020), a policy paper on the blue economy in the Mediterranean was published. This policy paper includes objectives and actions to promote the blue economy in the Mediterranean. While the focus is regional, the outcomes are equally applicable across Europe. Specific policy recommendations for three focal sectors were developed, namely yachting, marine renewable energy and maritime surveillance. The recommendations are addressed towards the EU institutions, international and intergovernmental organizations, Member States and regional authorities.
EBI was closely involved in the development of the policy paper and provided input on the challenges for the recreational boating sector in the Mediterranean, as well as across Europe. These and a number of EBI’s policy recommendations were successfully taken up and include among others:
The paper also calls for support to the sector through economic development policies and to raise public awareness of the sectors’ strength, SME focus and potential for sustainable growth in the blue economy. This paper will be further promoted and brought to the attention of the EU institutions in the coming months. The full policy paper can be found here.
The projects under Interreg MED were iBlue, MAESTRALE, PELAGOS, PROteuS and 4Helix+.