This event was the third in a series of stakeholder events assessing the benefits and challenges of MSP for specific maritime sectors and activities. The conferences aim to identify the specific needs and best practices of specific sectors so as to support the implementation of the Directive on MSP, which enters into force in 2014.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ms. Damanaki, Greece Shipping Minister, Mr. Varvitsiotis and Ms. Meissner (MEP) welcomed the agreement on the MSP Directive and stressed how it could boost blue growth strategies in Member States. Mr. Varvitsiotis highlighted the directive as one of the main achievements of the Greek Presidency.
Chaired by the Greek Ministry of Shipping, the conference gathered representatives of the industry, regions, environmental NGOs and national authorities dealing with transport, ports and spatial planning. It offered a first occasion for the shipping and ports industry to discuss MSP. Representatives of the sector (ECSA, ESPO, Port of Rotterdam…) stressed that they should be fully involved in the implementation of the MSP Directive. It was highlighted that MSP should be both an opportunity for the sector to have a say on the development of new maritime activities, but also to address future space needs such as more traffic, larger vessels, and port developments.
Speakers including the IMO, the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping and the Nautical Institute indicated that there is no contradiction between the international regulatory framework for shipping and national MSP implementation. Existing examples prove that IMO spatial and safety rules, especially in terms of routing, can be fairly easily combined with national MSP.
Everyone agreed that the real benefits of the Directive will depend on its implementation. This is why political awareness needs to be high, so as to ensure good links with land planning and to use MSP to streamline administrative decisions (for instance through one- stop-shop for planning and licensing).
All presentations can be found on the conference website: http://www.amiando.com/MSPConference_Athens.html. The next conference will take place in the autumn in Italy and will be focused on MSP and Maritime and Coastal Tourism. Please contact MARE-E1@ec.europa.eu if you wish to be informed about future workshops.