The European Commission published its yearly Blue Economy Report. It is based on 2018 data collected from Eurostat. It includes specific information for each sector in the blue economy, including “building of pleasure and sporting boats”, “repair and maintenance of ships and boats”, as well as “coastal and maritime tourism”. This is broken down at national level for key indicators, such as employment, value added, turnover, gross profit margin and other key indicators.
The report also includes a case study on “The Recreational Boating Industry: Made in Europe” (from page 150). Besides providing key figures on the impact of the recreational boating industry, it also includes information on the policy measures needed to support the sector (access to finance, recognition of skipper qualifications, VAT, as well as others).
The report was published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission and covers assessments conducted in 2019. It is published yearly and provides information to citizens on the quality of bathing water sites in Europe. Over 20,000 bathing water sites were monitored across EU, the UK, Albania and Switzerland. Bathing water quality in Europe remains at a high level with the minimum water quality standards met at 95 % of sites.
The share of sites rated ‘excellent’ stands at 84.6 % across Europe and 84.8 % in EU countries. The quality of coastal sites is generally better than that of inland sites. 87.4 %, of coastal bathing sites were classified as of excellent quality compared to 79.1 % of inland sites in the EU. The share of poor-quality sites has dropped since 2013. In 2019, poor bathing waters constituted 1.3 % of all sites in the EU, compared to 2 % in 2013.
On 1 July, Germany takes over the rolling presidency of the Council of the EU for the second half of 2020. It follows on from Croatia. Under the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery”, Germany has presented its focus areas for the presidency. The programme is based around overcoming the consequences of COVID-19 for a long-term economic recovery while addressing over topics related to the future development of the EU, such as the European Green Deal and digitalisation. The website of the German Council presidency with further information can be found here.
Following Germany, Portugal and Slovenia will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2021. Together, they have presented their joint programme that can be found here.
The European Commission has imposed anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures on imports of certain woven and stitched glass fibre fabrics originating in the People's Republic of China and Egypt. Together with previous measures imposed on the same imports in April, the combined duties are now between 54.6% and 99.7% on imports from China (depending on the producer), and 30.9% on imports from Egypt. The full decision by the Commission can be found here.
The European Parliament and Council of the EU have adopted the Taxonomy Regulation which sets out the harmonised criteria to determine whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. The aim is to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’. It should enable investors to focus on sustainable investment and thereby help the EU become climate neutral by 2050. Under the Regulation, an economic activity can be labelled as environmentally sustainable if it contributes to at least one of the six environmental goals without significantly harming any of the others:
The full regulation can be found here.
The European Commission published the “Re-open EU” map that provides real-time information on EU internal borders, tourism services and health information. The aim is to support the summer tourism season by providing travellers with relevant information.
The map can be found here and is available for all EU countries (and Switzerland) in all official languages. The map was one of the demands voiced by tourism stakeholders (including EBI) to support the start of the tourism season in the context of COVID-19. Nautical tourism activities (marinas, water sports and boat charter/hire) are covered under the heading “beaches and tourist areas”.
At the end of May, the European Commission unveiled the long-awaited EU Recovery Plan, Next Generation EU, with an unprecedented €750 billion backing. A mixture of grants and loans will be available for EU countries to finance their recovery, as well as several EU programmes being strengthened. Tourism and recreation are mentioned as the sectors most affected by COVID-19 and will be prioritised. The focus is on achieving a green and digital recovery.
European Boating Industry (EBI), on behalf of the European recreational boating industry welcomes the EU Recovery Plan. It calls for national and EU investment programmes to incorporate the particularities of the boating and nautical tourism industry and ensure that investment is provided for a green and digital transition. This can also allow nautical tourism to play a strong role in developing a more sustainable tourism and strengthen European regions long-term.
In its position paper reacting to the Recovery Plan, EBI presents recommendations to ensure survival of companies and for the green and digital transition to realise its potential for boating and nautical tourism. EBI calls for specific recognition and support for investment needs of the industry within national recovery plans and EU programmes. This requires a clearer differentiation between the needs and infrastructure of for maritime transport and recreational boating. EBI also supports the European Parliament’s call for a dedicated budget line for tourism in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework.
EBI also provides its suggestions for specific investment priorities for the boating and nautical tourism industry as an ecosystem belonging to tourism and the maritime sector. These include the digital and green transformation of marinas, development of local and regional nautical tourism infrastructure, research and innovation as well as other concrete investment areas. This needs to be accompanied by the promotion of regional and European nautical tourism, which has substantial potential given the given the relative ease of implementing social distancing rules, renewed consumer interest in outdoor tourism and potential for development of regional tourism opportunities.
The BlueGeneration project (in which EBI is a partner) operates a dedicated job and training platform for the blue economy, which includes boat-building and nautical tourism. It can be used free of charge for companies wishing to advertise their job or training offers. It will be promoted to over 8000 young people every year in meetings and school visits. The platform can be accessed here: https://bluegeneration.careers/
Deadline: 14 July 2020
The EU-funded MATES project is carrying out a short survey for companies involved in the shipbuilding sector. The aim is to collect industry insights on the skills and competences gaps within the workforce. The survey results will be part of the development of a long-term Skills Strategy and Action Plan for the sector. The survey is also open to the boat-building sector and can be found here.