With Euro 2016 kicking off in France shortly, this might be our best moment for sharing boating news before everything gets replaced with football results, game schedules and so on. For your diaries, pencil 15 and 16 June for European Parliament’s Cocktail Reception, conference “Skippers Working Without Borders” and Assembly General Meeting in Brussels. We report about EU Watercraft Directive transposition, new Regulation on personal protective equipment that covers lifejackets and what’s happening trade-wise with EU-US TTIP negotiations. In other news: Parliament’s hearing on Birds & Habitats where we'll be sharing good practice about sustainable boating, Blue Economy Business Awards or the SENTour platform for seniors. Also, you will find open EU funding calls and calendar of events.
Although participation is free, you have until 10 June to register online for the conference organised jointly by European Boating Industry and the TCC-SCV Project Team, that will take place in Brussels on 16 June 2016. Key industry, EU and national speakers will debate over the work mobility for professional skippers and captains working on small commercial vessels (up to 24m or 200GT).
Theme and speakers
Imagine two identical charter boats up to 24m moored in an Italian harbour: same length, same brand, the only visible difference being their flag, say one being under Spanish flag and the other under German one. Now, add to the equation a local, Italian professional skipper and find out he/she isn’t able to work on any of those boats as his Italian qualifications are not accepted.
Absurd? Well, this is the harsh reality for professional skippers on small commercial vessels!
The lack of recognition of skippers’ professional qualifications is affecting a large range of actors, from skippers themselves to charter companies, crew agencies, training institutes and national maritime authorities. National industry associations are also concerned by the current situation and four of them – namely ANPPER (Spain), APL (Czech Republic), BVWW (Germany) and FIN (France) who joined as TCC-SCV project partners.
Taking place in Brussels on 16 June 2016, the “Skippers Working Without Borders” conference provides a unique opportunity for the boating industry, EU and national authorities to learn more about this issue and exchange ideas about possible solutions and future initiatives needed.
European Boating Industry’s Secretary General Mirna Cieniewicz explains that “the conference is the crowning event after years of research and analysis work carried out by teams of national experts under the TRECVET and TCC-SCV projects. Seven different national qualifications were studied in order to develop the TRECVET Core Curriculum for Skippers of Small Commercial Vessels that will be presented on 16 June.”
She adds that “the conference is not intended to be an expert workshop but rather the first step of a highly needed European and national dialogue regarding professional skippers on small commercial vessels and how to unlock the potential of chartering in Europe.”
• Josie Tucci, General Manager of Moorings (TUI Marine), one of the biggest charter companies worldwide
• István Ujhelyi, European Parliament’s Vice-Chair of the Transport & Tourism Committee and Parliament’s Tourism Intergroup
• Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Member of European Parliament’s Transport & Tourism Committee and Parliament’s Tourism Intergroup
• David Kerr, Maritime Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU
• Konstantinos Tomaras, Deputy Head of European Commission’s Unit for professional qualifications and skills
• Thomas Strasser, Team Leader and Policy Officer at European Commission’s Unit for Mediterranean, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries
• Lara Hidalgo, Legal Adviser at the Spanish boating industry association ANEN
• Silja Teege, Director of Sea Teach and TCC-SCV project leader
The conference language is English with no interpretation. Participation is free of charge and prior registration is needed. Participants will have the possibility to interact and exchange with speakers during the whole event, making it a lively debate.
Traditionally held in June, our summer Assembly General Meeting will take place in Brussels and become a perfect opportunity for boating industry representatives to engage in dialogue with the European institutions.
The first such occasion presents itself on Wednesday, 15 June 2016. That evening, European Boating Industry President, Piero Formenti together with Member of European Parliament Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar (EPP, Portugal) are hosting a Cocktail Reception at the European Parliament. The Reception will be the occasion to exchange on the priorities of the boating industry, with a special focus on nautical tourism.
On the following day, boating professionals will meet again with representatives of European Parliament, European Commission and national policy makers at the conference “Skippers Working Without Borders” held on Thursday, 16 June 2016 (see previous article for more details).
The Assembly General Meeting will be the closing event of the industry gathering in Brussels and will take place on Thursday, 16 June 2016 after the conference. We will bring you the highlights from these events in the June newsletter.
Some five months after the new EU rules on watercraft started to apply, a third of EU Member States still haven’t transposed the EU Directive 2013/53/EU on watercraft in their national legislation.
While this is not preventing economic operators from applying the requirements set in the Directive, European Boating Industry is concerned that 10 countries, among which key boatbuilding nations, are still lagging behind in the transposition exercice.The bad pupils currently are Germany, France, United Kingdom as well as Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal and Romania.
European Boating Industry is also concerned by the lack of progress by national administrations in the notification of conformity assessment bodies under the new Directive 2013/53/EU. At time of writing, some 13 notified bodies are currently able to assess and certify products under the new Directive and some “big names” used in the boating industry such as RINA, Lloyd’s Register, ICNN or IMCI are still not appearing despite having all filed their applications for the new accreditation.
The delays in the notification of conformity assessment bodies should not be minimised to a mere administrative issue. Notified bodies are directly involved in the assessment of many boat models and they will face an increase of work with the transition to the new EU requirements and the related assessments to be carried out. With the transition period ending on 18 January 2017, boatbuilding companies have only a few months left to have their products assessed and European Boating Industry is concerned by the possible future bottlenecks resulting the delayed notification of the notified bodies.
This Wednesday, 1 June 2016, European Boating Industry is invited to speak at the European Parliament’s Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup hosted by its Vice-Chair MEP Ricardo Serrao Santos. The event theme is the maritime dimension of the Birds and Habitats directives, namely the development of marine national parks and marine protected areas across Europe.
European Boating Industry together with other maritime stakeholders was invited to share its experiences with the implementation of the directives and their impact on various marine-related activities. With good examples of cooperation between nautical tourism operators and national park managers from various countries, Ewa Tomczuk who is EU Affairs Officer at European Boating Industry will share with the audience the good practices developed locally.
The EU Birds and Habitats Directives constitute the legal basis for the Natura 2000 Network. This Network introduced a series of key elements in nature conservation related to the marine environment, supporting the development of marine protected areas across Europe. This meeting aims to discuss the maritime dimension of the Birds and Habitats Directives by bringing together representatives of the European Institutions, the private sectors interested, the marine research community and NGOs. Both, opportunities and constraints will be discussed with the view of finding new synergies and solutions. It will also be an opportunity to discuss the fitness check of the Birds and Habitats Directives.
Following the Council’s approval in March this year and the publication in the Official Journal of EU, the new EU Regulation to replace the personal protective equipment directive 89/686/EEC, covering among others lifejackets and buoyancy aids, has now entered into force.
As European Boating Industry already informed, the main change for manufacturers of personal flotation devices has been the move of product category from PPE II to PPE III, implying stricter evaluation requirements for the products. On the EU-type examination certificate, a maximum validity of 5 years had been kept. It was stressed however that in case of a positive review, a renewed certificate may continue to be valid for further periods (each of which maximum of 5 years).
Looking at the calendar, the personal flotation devices (lifejackets) used for leisure purposes (i.e. not SOLAS ones used for maritime transport) must be compliant and meet the basic health and safety requirements of the current EU Directive on personal protective equipment 89/686/EEC until 21 April 2018. To benefit from the presumption of conformity, manufacturers should use the harmonised standard ISO 12402. Only the notified bodies accredited under the Directive 89/686/EEC can carry out the conformity assessment. You will find the list of notified bodies on the NANDO website: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=directive.notifiedbody&dir_id=6
As of 21 April 2018, lifejackets will have to meet the requirements set in the new EU Regulation 2016/425. The harmonised standard will continue to provide presumption of conformity as it will continue to be reviewed and updated when necessary. As mentioned, the product conformity assessment procedures have been made stricter and are described in the Regulation. About a year before entry into force (by mid 2017), notified bodies will need apply to be accredited to this new Regulation to continue operating legally.
The European Commission Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is organising the first edition of the Blue Economy Business Awards 2016 that will accompany the Blue Economy Business & Science Forum, taking place in Hamburg on 12-13 September 2016.
The Blue Economy Business Awards recognise and reward individuals or organisations who have made a specific contribution to bringing and developing innovation in the Blue Economy. The jury will also select among the applicants the Woman of the Year in the Blue Economy and the Rising Blue Star of the Year (up to 35 years old). The nine finalists will be invited to the Gala Dinner in Hamburg and out of them three winners will be announced and receive a certificate.
Changing use patterns with relation to boats and new-comers, Europe’s ageing population and their different holiday patterns have been some of those factors drawing European Boating Industry’s closer attention to the senior, youth and seasonality-related issues in the boating sector.
Since the Lisbon Treaty adoption that gives some competence in the tourism area, the European Commission launched the EU Low Season Tourism Initiative Board (EULSTIB) 2015-2016 and will publish its final report in June 2016. On 24 May, European Boating Industry was invited to the SENTour final conference. The main purpose of SENTour, done by ISTO and different partners, is to facilitate transnational tourism exchanges for seniors in the low season within the European domestic market.
The main messages presented by SENTour at the event highlighted that the senior patterns are changing and a “next“ tourism generation of senior tourists with new needs has been detected. This is leading to specific needs for low season travel to be defined and the European Knowledge Centre and Network on Senior Tourism was launched on this occasion.
Started in July 2013, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the US and the European Union are still far from being concluded after 13 rounds of talks.
A Brussels based newspaper informed this week that tensions were building up between two parties and the European Commission was taking a hard stance towards its American counterpart, criticizing the lack of willingness to work on a compromise with the EU. The US Ambassador to the EU criticised the EU counterparts and in particular British Commissioner for agriculture, regarding a series of misleading statements in the press. There have been rumours previously, that the US administration would be willing to finalise the TTIP talks before the end of Barack Obama’s mandate who will be leaving his office in January 2017. At this stage however, it is hard to predict if this is feasible.
Although European Boating Industry and its US counterpart, the NMMA, are supporting the efforts of the TTIP to facilitate EU-US trade and investment relations for the recreational boating industry, it is clear that the boating industry is not in the position to influence the content of the negotiations but rather follow the agreements, should they ever be found. At present, European Boating Industry is working together with the European engineering sector represented by Orgalime as both sectors will be covered by the same chapter of talks in the TTIP negotiations.
Transatlantic trade between the EU and US accounts for eighty percent of the world’s production and boating market. Within the framework of TTIP, mutually beneficial economic growth is achievable through tariff elimination, simplified certification procedures and internationally harmonized standards. This however, might be still a long way away…
C. Open consultations & calls for EU funding
Open calls for proposals: Blue Growth calls
On 5 April, the European Commission organised an information day to present three calls for proposals launched under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to foster blue growth across Europe.
With a budget of over 7,5 million euros the 3 thematic calls ('Blue Careers', 'Blue Labs' and 'Blue Technology') will respectively help enhancing career opportunities in the maritime economy, stimulating the creativity of young researchers and set-up cooperation that will help bring research results to the market in promising blue growth technology areas. The calls are open to all sea basins surrounding the EU coasts and target a wide range of stakeholders of the blue economy.
WBoth calls for "Blue Careers" and "Blue Labs" are now closed. You can find more info about the "Blue Technology" call below:
With the budget of 2,5 million euros, this call is addressed to participants active in the field of research & innovation, regional cooperation, implementation of national and regional research and innovation smart specialisation strategies, blue economy and related sectors. The aim is to get new lightweight materials tested, accepted and certified to be used in manufacturing of new products; like wind turbines and maintain the competitiveness of renewable energy.
EU funding: Horizon 2020 work programmes for 2016-2017
Funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are contained in bi-annual work programmes setting out the large majority of support which is available. The work programmes are prepared by the European Commission through a process which integrates EU policy objectives into the priority setting.