Newsletter August-September 2020

Newsletter August-September 2020

The EU4Ocean platform was officially launched on 24th and 25th September. As founding member, EBI was invited to join the launch webinar as of one the panellists alongside the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, stakeholders and other founding members. EBI presented the recreational boating industry and the role of boating and boat shows in getting people interested in the ocean. The overlap between ocean literacy and blue careers was also presented with the BlueGeneration project as a prime example.

The EU4Ocean Platform is one of the three key components of the EU4Ocean coalition alongside the Youth4Ocean Forum and Network of European Blue Schools. The EU4Ocean Platform will be a focal point for organizations and initiatives to connect, collaborate and mobilize efforts on ocean literacy.

EBI members and the wider industry are invited to join the EU4Ocean coalition and join the discussion ocean literacy. More information can be found here.

As part of the Green Deal, the European Commission is working on a new offshore renewable energy strategy that is planned to be adopted at the end of 2020. This should provide the strategic direction for the EU’s ambitious plans of increasing offshore wind energy in the next decades.

EBI responded to the consultation on issues relevant to the recreational boating industry, them being 1) Positioning of offshore wind parks and navigational safety and 2) Common decommissioning and recycling solutions.

The full response to the consultation can be found below for download.

The European Commission will soon launch a new climate change adaptation strategy, anticipated for early 2021. This will set out the pathway for adapting Europe, as well as industry and infrastructure to the impacts of climate change.

EBI responded to the consultation to highlight the impact of climate change on the recreational boating industry and how adaptation measures should be implemented and funding prioritised. The main areas addressed in the response were 1) Climate change impact on recreational boating and nautical tourism, 2) Potential solutions (infrastructure, supporting users) and the 3) Interaction with environmental transformation. Input to EBI’s response was also kindly provided by the ICOMIA Marinas Group and the PIANC Recreational Navigation Commission.

The full EBI response to the consultation can be found below for download.

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector in which EBI is a leading member, calls on Member States to urgently agree on harmonised travel restrictions to help the sector survive the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The statement called on governments to urgently approve the European Commission’s proposal and to:

  • Establish common criteria and thresholds for determining epidemiological risk, including a common colour-coding system to identify risk areas. These criteria should be evaluated on a detailed regional level, considering relevant geographical factors (particularly islands).
  • Implement common measures to put in place upon departure to and return from risk areas. These measures should be determined with sufficient detail and based on scientific evidence (as there is no reason to restrict travel to entire countries if only certain regions are affected), and comprise:
    • Replacing the need for quarantine of travellers with comprehensive cost-effective testing and tracing
    • Avoiding blanket restrictions to free movement by implementing more targeted measures which are limited in geographical scope
    • Avoiding imposing travel restrictions on passengers in transit
    • Agreeing on common rules for requesting pre-travel COVID-19 negative test results where needed
    • Ensuring the interoperability of contact tracing apps in the EU and the harmonization of Passenger Locator Forms based on international standards.
  • Follow a common structured and transparent process to publish clear, comprehensive and timely information about any travel restrictions where these are needed. Information should also be made available on the ‘Re-open EU' web platform.

For the full statement, please click here.

The members of European Boating Industry (EBI) met for the second yearly General Assembly to discuss the latest industry developments after a turbulent first half of the year for the industry and chart the association’s future positioning. Representing Slovenia, SMIA joins as new full member and IMCI joins as sustaining member, growing EBI’s network across Europe.

Taking place virtually on 9 September, members discussed the future positioning of the association, providing support and a strong platform for its advocacy activities at EU level. Five new position papers were presented on international trade, VAT, Environment, Nautical Tourism, and Industry & Single Market policy following a six-month development process (to be found here). These offer a clear overview of EBI’s positions and will continue to be developed in the next years.

Members also discussed the latest developments related to COVID-19 that will remain in the focus of EBI’s activities in the coming months. Supporting boating companies in the recovery and working towards a successful 2021 season will take centre-place. Since the start of the crisis, EBI has led the industry’s engagement through dozens of meetings with Members of the European Parliament, Member State representations, and European Commissioners to successfully present the concerns of the recreational boating industry. EBI has also been updating its members and the wider industry of the latest developments at EU level regarding COVID-19, as well as working with its key partners.

The General Assembly of EBI accepted the application of the Slovenian Marine Industry Association (SMIA) to join as full member representing Slovenia. Founded in 2016, the association represents producers and service providers, contributing to the export of Slovenian know-how. SMIA supports companies in dealing with challenges in foreign markets, represents them in front of state institutions, and works to increase the visibility of Slovenian expertise in the nautical industry in the long term. Around 1,800 people are employed in the Slovenian recreational boating industry. For more on SMIA, please find their website here: http://www.smia.eu/en/home/

EBI is also delighted to announce that the International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) was accepted as a sustaining member. IMCI is an EU-based, independent, non-profit organisation committed to adding value to the worldwide recreational craft industry by assessing compliance of companies, products, services and experts with the highest recognised standards of quality and safety. IMCI is believed to be the market leader with regards to the CE certification of products under the Recreational Craft Directive. For more on IMCI, please find their website here: https://www.imci.org/

Regardless of the outcomes of the negotiations between the EU and UK on a new partnership agreement, businesses will be impacted by the departure of the UK from January 2021. The European Commission has published a general checklist on the changes that can be found here.

The checklist is also available in all other official EU languages alongside detailed information and sector-specific notices here.

The European Commission adopted a proposal for increased EU coordination and better communication of travel restrictions measures taken by Member States in the context of COVID-19. The Commission’s proposal sets out four areas where Member States should work together: 1) Common criteria, 2) Common colour codes, 3) Common approach for travellers from high-risk areas and 4) Clear and timely information.

The proposal and overall coordination are being discussed by the German Council Presidency and the European Commission with EU Member States. For more information, please click here.

The Commission presented the next steps for the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which will provide funds to EU countries. This will provide a total of €672.5 billion of loans and grants to support investment and reforms across EU countries. Grants worth a total of €312.5 billion will be provided, while the remaining €360 billion will be provided in loans. The Facility is the key recovery instrument at the heart of the Recovery Fund that is aimed at supporting the EU to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

National recovery plans will have to be aligned with the green and digital transitions. Moreover, the reforms and investments will have to respect the ‘do no harm’ principle, and use the EU Taxonomy Regulation. EU countries are requested to include in their plans the following areas:

  1. Power up – The frontloading of future-proof clean technologies and acceleration of the development and use of renewables.
  2. Renovate – The improvement of energy efficiency of public and private buildings.
  3. Recharge and Refuel – The promotion of future-proof clean technologies to accelerate the use of sustainable, accessible and smart transport, charging and refuelling stations and extension of public transport.
  4. Connect – The fast rollout of rapid broadband services to all regions and households, including fiber and 5G networks.
  5. Modernise – The digitalisation of public administration and services, including judicial and healthcare systems.
  6. Scale-up – The increase in European industrial data cloud capacities and the development of the most powerful, cutting edge, and sustainable processors.
  7. Reskill and upskill – The adaptation of education systems to support digital skills and educational and vocational training for all ages.

The Commission has called on the European Parliament and Council of the EU to agree as soon as possible on the legislative proposal to make the funding operational from January 2021. Once approved, Member States will have time until end-April 2021 to submit their draft plans. The announcement also includes a break-down by country on the grant allocation (see here).

For more information, please click here.

The European Commission presented its plans to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). The aim is to increase the ambition and set the pathway for the EU to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The announcement includes an amendment to the proposed European Climate Law, to include the 2030 emissions reduction target. As next step, the European Parliament and Council of the EU are invited to confirm this 55% target under the Paris Agreement. The European Commission also announced the legislative proposals that will be presented by June 2021. These will be reviewed and proposals issued. For more information, please click here.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an official advisory body of the European Union, published its opinion on “Transport and Tourism in 2020 and beyond”. It recommends policy measures to help the boating and nautical tourism sector in its recovery and return to growth after COVID-19. The opinion was adopted by the plenary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 18th September with a majority of 217- 2. The body, representing employers, workers and civil society forms an integral part of the EU’s decision-making process through its recommendations.

Led by rapporteur Panagiotis Gkofas, the opinion calls for measures to support the tourism and transport sector survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19. This includes calls for a harmonised approach to travel restrictions, a strategic plan to implement economic, tax relief and other support measures for businesses. The opinion also includes several measures specific for the boating and nautical tourism industry that EBI has been calling for.

  • Recognition and support to tourism sectors offering non-mass and outdoor tourism, such as nautical tourism, to speed up recovery of the wider tourism sector and protect jobs
  • Support and promotion of international trade opportunities for sectors connected to tourism that have been impacted by COVID-19, such as boat-building
  • Changes to the EU VAT Directive allowing a reduced VAT rate to be applied for boat charter and marinas at national level
  • Funding for the environmental and digital transformation of tourism and its infrastructure
  • Development of cross-border routes for nautical tourism and funding for tourism marketing
  • Public funding and guidelines for the safe organisation of trade fairs
  • Comprehensive approach for skills and qualifications and mutual recognition of licences for skippers of small commercial vessels

Commenting on the EESC opinion, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are delighted to receive such a positive endorsement and push by the European Economic and Social Committee for the tourism sector and nautical tourism sector in particular. The exchange that we have had with the EESC in advance of this opinion is an example of how crucial the dialogue between industry and policy-makers is at this time. It helps develop suitable policy measures to support companies, protect jobs and those regions reliant on the boating industry. We call on the EU institutions and EU countries to follow the recommendations and put the sector on track for a strong recovery in 2020 and beyond.”

The opinion can be found in full here (also in other languages).

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