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Ponta Delgada ,  April 23, 2015

Government of the Azores takes part in the revision of EU Strategy for Maritime Transport

The Government of the Azores has conveyed to the European Commission its position on the mid-term revision of the EU Strategy on Maritime Transport under the public consultation process that ran until April 22. The Region defends the need to "fully acknowledge" the Atlantic as the western sea border of the European Union.

 In the document sent to Brussels, the Azorean Government mentions the necessary to "pay proper attention to the Atlantic and island dimension of the European Union. Hence, the Atlantic should be fully acknowledged as the western sea border of the European Union," namely through a region such as the Azores; the latter "has a geo-strategic position in the Atlantic as the first gateway to the Europe."

 The Regional Government reminded the outermost status of outermost regions such as the archipelago, embodied in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. It stresses that the "maritime transport between the nine islands of the Azores and to outside the archipelago is crucial to the economic and social development of various islands. Hence, maritime transport plays a relevant role in the promotion of trade and industry, creating jobs and ensuring the well-being of the population."

 In this context, the Government defended that the European Commission "should consider the creation of a specific programme to support island cabotage and inter-island maritime transport in order to give the same treatment to these ports as the one given to the ports included in the global network of TEN-T (trans-European transport network).

 The proposals submitted by the Regional Government to the European Commission include the establishment of a European Network of Maritime Training Schools, a European Observatory for Employment and Maritime Occupations as well as the implementation of a Maritime Security Centre in the Azores and a Coastal Observatory. Moreover, the Government defends the installation of a laboratory for studying the effects of climate change, which "would provide the European Union with maritime surveillance suited to the area of the Atlantic."

 With regard to the increase and improvement of maritime services, the Government stressed the importance of creating an international transshipment container terminal in the Azores, an innovative system based on the "Hub-and-Spoke" model. This will reduce ground traffic in European and American ports, since the access to these ports would be via medium-sized container ships; the latter ensure the streamlining of operations compared with the so-called mega carriers."

 As for the actions or initiatives to promote alternative fuels for vessels, the Regional Government proposed the creation of a continuous network infrastructure for alternative fuels in the European Union, stressing that "the Azores are the only European region with a prime position to become a natural gas supply platform for maritime transport between the EU and the US." In this context, the Government reiterated that "the European Union should regard the approval and development of the project presented by regional Port Authorities as strategic and priority goal under the Project COSTA - CO2 & Ship Transport Emissions Abatement by LNG."
Presented in 2009, the Strategy in force sets the strategic and goals and recommendations for Community maritime transport policies in the horizon 2018. The revision process should focus on aspects such as the European maritime transport in globalised markets, human resources, transport quality, short-distance maritime transport as well as on research and innovation in the sector.

 Given the importance of maritime transport for the development of the archipelago, the Government of the Azores will continue to closely follow the revision process that the European Commission expects to conclude by 2018.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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