What do we want to achieve ?
For Europe, maritime transport has been a catalyst for economic development and prosperity throughout its history. Maritime Transport enables trade and contacts between all European nations. It ensures the security of supply of energy, food and commodities and provides the main vehicle for European imports and exports to the rest of the world. Almost 90 % of the EU’s external freight trade is seaborne. Short sea shipping represents 40 % of intra-EU exchanges in terms of ton-kilometers. Ensuring a good quality of life on Europe’s islands and in peripheral maritime regions depends on good maritime transport services. Each year, more than 400 million passengers embark and disembark at European ports. Overall, maritime industries are an important source of employment and income for the European economy.
The European Commission’s objective is to protect Europe with very strict safety rules preventing sub-standard shipping, reducing the risk of serious maritime accidents and minimising the environmental impact of maritime transport. The Commission also works actively against piracy and terrorism threats. Another important activity concerns the social dimension: looking after working conditions, health and safety issues and regulating the professional qualifications of seafarers. Finally, the Commission works for the protection of citizens as users of maritime transport services, ensuring safe and secure conditions, looking after their rights as passengers and examining the quality of public service connections proposed by Member States.
The Commission’s strategic goals and recommendations for the EU are listed in the Maritime Transport Policy until 2018 . A mid-term review is under preparation. Action in the area of maritime transport aims at ensuring the long-term performance of the European maritime transport system as a whole to the benefit of all other economic sectors and to the final consumer. The Commission actively supports the efforts of EU Member States and of the European shipping sector offering quality shipping services in Europe and all over the world.