Mr. Cozigou's address
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to address you here today and I would like to thank both EMEC and ECSA for their initiative in organising this workshop.
Europe is currently confronted with the twin challenges of delivering sustainable growth and jobs and dealing with climate change. DG Enterprise and Industry is convinced that our policies for more growth and employment and our interest in high standards in environmental protection are in no way contradictory. We believe that we can pursue both aims at the same time.
Not that long ago it would have been difficult to envisage a gathering like we have here today. The priorities and preoccupations of industry have not always been the same as those of the environmental community. But times and people change and I am pleased that both sides are now making constructive efforts to work together for the mutual benefit of our economy and our environment.
This morning you have heard about some of the practical steps that the Commission is taking in the field of climate change and how the shipping industry can contribute to this effort. DG Environment also spoke about the opportunity for European providers of maritime equipment to satisfy the need for clean technology. I would now like to take this opportunity to look at the issues from the perspective of our maritime industries.
For me the key words are reasonableness and balance. DG Enterprise and Industry is working to ensure that standards and requirements on industry are appropriate and that there is no excessive regulation. We also advocate global solutions to global challenges wherever possible while not ruling out action at EU level where it is indeed essential.
With that in mind, I would like to say a few words about how we are trying to create synergies between our industrial and climate change policies in general and in the maritime sector in particular.
The competitiveness of the European economy in the maritime sector as elsewhere depends on innovation and new technologies. These technologies in turn make an important contribution to climate protection. High demands for climate protection are also an important incentive to develop new technologies. This encourages innovation and can give our industry a competitive advantage and generate good jobs and growth.
An intelligent climate and energy policy consequently is consistent with an intelligent industrial policy. We can make it possible for our citizens to live in a healthy environment and at the same time carry out for highly-qualified jobs, which in turn finance our high social and environmental standards. That is the political vision that Vice President Verheugen and the Commission believes that we should pursue.
We need an industrial and climate policy that promotes environmentally-friendly innovation without leading to industrial outsourcing and the loss of jobs and prosperity. Just as there is no place in the 21st century for a policy which drives industry and jobs out of Europe to pollute the environment elsewhere, there is also no place in 21st century Europe for an industrial policy which is pursued at the expense of the environment.
So while everyone acknowledges that it is companies that innovate, grow and create employment it is also important that the right, EU level, policy mix is, crafted and applied to meet the challenges ahead. This also means taking appropriate initiatives at sectoral level within an overall horizontal policy framework to stimulate the growth potential of individual industries.
With the LeaderSHIP 2015 initiative, Europe’s maritime industries, working in partnership with the European Commission, have helped to pioneer this application of industrial policy. European and marine equipment manufacturers and shipyards do more than deliver the “off-the-shelf” solutions favoured by many of their Asian competitors. They provide custom-built solutions that meet their clients demanding requirements. With its modern industrial policy approach that aims at strengthening international competitiveness and the coherence of various policy spheres such as industrial and environmental policies, the Commission seeks to do likewise.
This integrated policy approach also dovetails with the Commission’s effort to develop a holistic maritime policy framework that positions marine equipment as an essential part of a vibrant and interconnected European maritime space and advocates a joined-up approach that addresses all relevant issues including of course the competitiveness of our maritime industries. Marine equipment manufacturing and shipbuilding is now widely recognised as part of a modern and efficient European manufacturing sector that is actually offering new jobs and driving growth in transport, trade, tourism and other areas
There is, I believe, a broad consensus that innovative environmental technologies and the worldwide efforts to combat climate change represent an economic opportunity. We cannot however achieve climate protection against industry, but only with it. This is why I welcome recent developments to bridge the gap between ecological and economic challenges of which this workshop is a prime example.
Let me turn now to the particular case of the maritime sector.
Maritime equipment produced in Europe is of the highest quality in terms of complexity, safety and environmental impact - frequently surpassing the relevant regulatory requirements. Ongoing innovation in terms of design and construction is driven by market and societal demands for safer and cleaner ships. Our world class equipment manufacturers some of whom will soon address you directly, are making and developing the technology to make maritime transport greener.
But European companies compete in a truly worldwide market which does not always fairly value quality, knowledge and service and where ships are sometimes treated as a “commodity”. The Commission and industry, accordingly, generally welcome higher global standards to ensure fair competition in a global marketplace. We also recognise the need to take due account of safety and environmental concerns in our competitiveness policy initiatives and are working to ensure that our global competitors and trading partners do likewise. There is also scope for more research into clean ship technologies and encouraging more and better ship maintenance in Europe’s wide range of quality ship repair facilities.
The marine equipment and shipping industries are playing an increasingly important role in reducing transport pollution and increasing safety by the development of new and cleaner technologies and the promotion and use of Short Sea Shipping. The EU’s maritime industries should continue taking the lead in clean shipping technology, including the application of technologies to reduce energy consumption, air emissions and use of hazardous materials and more environmentally friendly antifouling protection.
I believe that there is significant potential in this respect. Indeed, rather than solely relying on the oil companies to deliver cleaner and more expensive maritime fuel, I think we should encourage our maritime equipment makers to provide the technology to help solve the problem. This would seem to be the cheaper and most intelligent solution that will help bring the 'clean ship concept' into wider application. The solution will certainly entail recourse to a number of different approaches but I believe that technology and innovation should be at the forefront.
Waterborne freight transport is already more fuel efficient than other transport modes, as we have heard, and European equipment manufacturers and shipyards stand ready to make an even greater contribution to its success by delivering appropriate, innovative and flexible ship products and designs. This is in line with the strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from sea-going ships that we are considering today and the EU thematic strategies on the sustainable use of natural resources and on the marine environment.
It is therefore fair to say that the vital role of ships and the maritime equipment installed on them in providing the hardware to facilitate the development of cleaner maritime transport can be further harnessed for the mutual benefit of both equipment makers and Europe’s transport and environmental objectives.
The key to success in all of this is of course research and innovation.
Indeed, sustainable industrial policy begins with the development of a new product. We must therefore further exploit the considerable innovative potential of our maritime industries by making more use of the appropriate Community instruments. These include the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme which has over €400 million available for eco-innovations, particularly for backing small and medium-sized enterprises. We must also help companies to adapt their production processes: that is, to use ‘cleaner’ raw materials, more environmentally-friendly energy or even to promote the setting up of internal environmental-management systems.
Europe's competitive advantage in the maritime domain is based upon its ability to construct the most advanced marine equipment and vessels. That is why the EU’s competition rules are also being made more responsive to the needs of the sector. Provisions for the industrial application of innovative products and processes - with aid intensities tailored to reflect and reward intelligent risk-taking and enhance Europe’s technological ascendancy - are now being applied and I expect them to be continued. Innovation in terms of design and construction is of course driven by market and societal demands for safer and cleaner ships and it is right that this is encouraged and supported.
In this context the Waterborne Technology Platform (TP) designed to strengthen the European dimension of research, development and innovation is playing an important role. The Platform which was established in 2005 is a forum for all stakeholders to agree on a medium to long term vision for waterborne research; assess the key challenges for the maritime industry and waterborne transport and operations; formulate the Research & Development (R&D) actions to be fulfilled for meeting these challenges in a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), and promote the mobilisation of the necessary resources. WATERBORNE has already developed its own vision of the potential contribution of research, development and innovation to future European maritime excellence in its “Vision 2020” document. It has also elaborated a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that translates the necessary steps to achieve this vision into concrete R&D milestones.
But if Europe’s maritime excellence and competitiveness in shipbuilding and marine equipment is based on having the better products we must work to ensure that the knowledge and experience that helps create them is valued and protected. The safety and environmental risks caused by substandard copies of vital maritime equipment is too serious to ignore. There is little incentive to innovate if the end product is copied and commercialised by others. This is an issue of pivotal importance for the European economy in general as well as for your industries. We all have a duty of care and a responsibility to stamp out illegal breaches of intellectual property rights. The Commission is intensifying its efforts in this respect and I also know that you in industry are also actively taking your own initiatives. I trust that our combined efforts will yield worthwhile results and I would urge particular attention on this important matter in the coming months and years.
As mentioned earlier, we must also consider the international dimension. As the demand for sustainable products and services increases, it can only be advantageous to set ambitious standards early on. This will also open up new markets for us. In this way we can fully exploit the advantages that result from a 'first mover' approach of this type.
Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, I believe that Europe is currently faced with very specific challenges to protect our way of life, preserve the prosperity of our citizens and pass on a clean environment to the next generation. We have, I believe, a unique opportunity to reconcile these political visions. It is vital that we seize it. I also believe that Europe’s world class shipping and maritime industries can face the future with confidence. I can assure you of our continued commitment to your industries and the LeaderSHIP initiative and I hope that delivery from our side will help you to profitably deliver even cleaner equipment and greener shipping in the years to come.
Thank you for your attention
Directorate General Enterprise
Head of Unit
Unit H-1: Aerospace, defence and maritime industries