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  • Writer's pictureMare Greco

ESPO: For Europe's ports, a focus on implementation is the best port strategy forward

The Port of Piraeus
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7 December 2023

Today, the Transport Committee in the European Parliament adopted the own-initiative report building a comprehensive European Port Strategy. The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) highly welcomes that the report embraces the comprehensive role of Europe’s ports and the vital role that ports play for Europe’s society and economy. Not only as the European Union’s gateways to the world, logistic nodes and industrial clusters, but also as hubs of energy and facilitators of military mobility, Europe’s ports are enablers of the European Union’s important transitions and ambitions.

To be able to play this role, constantly develop and remain competitive, including vis-à-vis ports outside Europe, European ports require large amounts of public and private investments. As such, ESPO highly appreciates that the report recognises these investment needs and underlines the importance of a more stable investment climate and predictability in investment assessments.

ESPO further welcomes the European Union to further harmonize the measures to strengthen the resilience and protection of Europe’s critical infrastructures, including ports. The forthcoming review of the Foreign Direct Investment Regulation must oblige all EU Member States to implement a foreign direct investment screening system and carry out screenings in a more harmonised manner. This not only fosters the necessary level playing field within Europe, but also contributes to more legal certainty for potential investors aiming to invest in European ports.

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General: “We would like to congratulate the rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs for their work on this report. It gathers a lot of important messages which clearly explains the comprehensive and increasingly important and strategic role of ports. We also read a clear understanding for the challenges ports in Europe are facing and their needs when it comes to investments. We believe that taking stock of all the legislation that has been agreed upon over the last years and focusing on and supporting its implementation is the best strategy forward.”

Ports in Europe have been working with many new (European) legislative initiatives, specifically since 2017. Ranging from the Port Services Regulation and the revised General Block Exemption Regulation, to the Foreign Direct Investment Regulation, the Distortive Foreign Subsidies Regulation, the Network and Information Security Directive, the Critical Entities Regulation and the relevant pillars of the Fit for 55 Package. It is now important to see that these rules are being adequately implemented, and properly assessed before launching reviews and taking additional measures.



European Sea Ports Organisation


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