The Greek Presidency has reaffirmed the importance of the maritime transport sector for Europe’s prosperity with the adoption of the “Athens Declaration,” which sets the policy priorities for European shipping.
The Declaration, which aims at the support, growth and sustainability of European shipping, was recently adopted at an Informal Maritime Ministerial Meeting of the EU Member States and EEA Countries, which took place in the Greek capital, within the context of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Meeting was held under the Chairmanship of the Greek Minister of Shipping Maritime Affairs & the Aegean Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and attended by the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas and the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Koji Sekimizu. Ministers and high officials of the EU Member States and EEA Countries, responsible for maritime transport issues, also attended.
The most important issues that have emerged from the “Athens Declaration” and shall constitute the EU’s shipping policy priorities in the years to come, include:
– Emphasizing the important role of shipping to Europe’s economy and welfare.
– Securing the long-term competitiveness of the EU’s maritime industry.
– Increasing employment in the maritime sector.
– Permitting free access to markets.
– Developing the EU’s leading role in maritime technology & innovation.
– Offering smaller and remote islands equal growth opportunities.
Effectively protect EU borders
The “Athens Declaration” will also provide for close cooperation between national authorities, the Commission, EU Agencies, in particular FRONTEX as well as EU Coastguards, in order to effectively protect EU borders and enhance safety and security in the maritime domain in general.
According to the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, the Declaration’s objectives constitute the objectives of the EU as a whole. “In this effort, the European Commission services will work constructively and in an absolute cooperative spirit with the EU Member States,” Mr. Kallas said.
To read the “Athens Declaration,” press here.