This month, the European Commission published its new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which aims at making transport within the EU more sustainable, smarter and more resilient. Transport is a crucial factor in the success of the European Green Deal (the goal of which is to make the EU climate neutral by 2050). Through the measures spelled out in the Strategy, including the 82 specific initiatives listed in the Action Plan that accompanies the Strategy, the Commission intends to deliver a 90% reduction in the transport sector’s emissions by 2050. The Strategy includes proposals and objectives on issues such as incentivising the development and use of zero-emission vehicles, enhancing transport intermodality, or putting in place the right policy incentives.
A number of the Strategy’s initiatives can be relevant to the recreational boating industry, even though they are not directly targeted towards the sector. The Strategy advocates the uptake of low- and zero-emission vehicles (including vessels) and of renewable and low-carbon fuels (including for waterborne transport). It envisages sustainability and end-of-life cycle requirements (e.g. in terms of carbon footprint or the sourcing of raw materials) and, for waterborne transport, mentions the possibility of establishing a Renewable and Low-Carbon Fuels Value Chain Alliance. Furthermore, it calls for cleaner ports, for alternative marine fuels, and for a network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure. Moreover, it stresses the need to provide SMEs with easier access to finance, and calls for investment in the modernisation of fleets in all transport modes.
The documents that accompany the Strategy also provide relevant information. The 82-point Action Plan contains several noteworthy actions, such as: exploring retrofitting and renewal schemes in various transport modes, revising the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, establishing sustainable taxonomy criteria (something EBI is actively engaged with), developing Research and Innovation partnerships, revising the maritime safety framework or revising the mandate of EMSA.
Furthermore, the Staff Working Document accompanying the Strategy, which provides a background assessment, points out the lack of mutual recognition of boating licences between Member States, noting that solving this problem would ensure free movement of people and support employment in the sector.
The full Strategy, together with the supplementary 82-point Action Plan, as well as additional information, can be found here.