08/07/2013 at 12:30
Where: Brussels, Belgium
Topic: Business | Transport and travel
Organiser: European Commission
The European Commission will put forward a communication setting out proposals to create a Blue Belt – an area where ships can operate freely from and within the EU internal market while facing a minimum of administrative burden. It will set out two key measures to ease customs formalities for shipping and further extend the benefits of the Single Market to maritime transport.
Free movement of goods is a basic freedom under EU law, however it is not yet a reality for the maritime sector. Today a ship moving between Antwerp and Rotterdam is still treated as though it came from China from a customs perspective. Once ships leave the Member States' territorial waters (beyond 12 miles from shore), they are considered to pass the EU's external borders. So ships travelling between ports in two different Member States are deemed to have left the EU Customs Territory and therefore face time and again customs formalities at the port of departure and at the port of destination, even if both are EU ports. The Blue Belt package aims to reduce these administrative hurdles so that maritime transport can be used to its full potential.
The Blue Belt proposals follow on from the Ports Policy Review adopted on May 23 2013, which aims to promote the competitiveness of Europe's sea ports and unleash their growth potential (see MEMO/13/448). The Communication is also a deliverable under the Single Market Act II in October 2012 (see IP/12/1054) which sets out to improve the single market for maritime transport.
Vice-President Siim Kallas and Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta will hold a press conference on Monday 8 July at 12:30 CET in the Berlaymont press room. Press materials will also be made available on the day.