The LeaderSHIP initiative:the EU response to shipbuilding challenges
On 20 February 2013, the new LeaderSHIP 2020 initiative was adopted at a high-level meeting in the presence of Commission Vice President Tajani and all involved stakeholders.
The report outlines a strategic vision for the industry (innovative, green, specialised in high tech markets, energy efficient, diversifying into new markets etc.). To make this vision happen, the report provides a series of recommendations for the short and medium term to safeguard and generate sustainable growth and high-value jobs for the maritime technologies. These recommendations cover four areas:
“Employment and skills”: The focus is on best practices for restructuring, improved image of the industry, ways to acquire new talents and skills, life-long learning projects, ways to harmonise certificates (or to validate non certified skills) and facilitating mobility.
“Improving market access and fair market conditions”: This section elaborates on actions to be taken in the framework of international organisations i.e. OECD, WTO and ILO, on IP rights and public procurement.
“Access to Finance”: The report points out that access to finance has become the single most important factor in competing for international shipbuilding contracts and explores ways to address the access to finance, financing environmental improvements and diversification into new markets. This can be done through, amongst others, making best use of the EIB funding opportunities and possibilities for broadening its lending activities, primarily for projects related to green shipping, offshore renewable energy, and retrofitting.
"Research, development and innovation" (RDI): The focus is on how to best exploit new market opportunities, ways to stimulate research and innovation. The report suggests amongst others, for the industry to develop a roadmap for a public-private partnership at EU level (Horizon 2020) with the aim of focussing maritime research towards
(i) zero emission and energy efficient vessels and zero technical accident vessels,
(ii) emerging market opportunities.
Finally, the report calls the Member States and the coastal regions to explore the possibility of allocating 2014-2020 structural funds for the diversification of the maritime technology industry into new market sectors, especially in the context of regional strategies for smart specialisation.
The “ LeaderSHIP 2015 initiative ” was launched in 2003 with the aim of giving a coordinated response to the challenges faced by the European shipbuilding sector. The main focus was on knowledge based activities and the need for better return on the substantial investments made by yards in research, development and innovation. However, in view of the negative impact that the present crisis is having on the EU shipbuilding industry, a strong fresh impetus was needed to identify new opportunities especially in the areas of innovation, greening, application of new technologies and diversification into new emerging markets, such as off-shore wind energy.
Against this background and following intensive discussions with industry and trade union leaders, VP Tajani proposed at the meeting of the Competitiveness Council on 5 December 2011 to review and update - in close co-operation with all stakeholders - the LeaderSHIP 2015 strategy. The review process was finalised with the endorsement of the LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy by all involved stakeholders on 20 February 2013. The review process involved all relevant stakeholders and the minutes of all the meetings, which took place for the purposes of the review were published on the Commission site. Click here for more information.