Cyprus, Greece and Malta on Friday enhanced already-close cooperation on shipping matters, at their 6th trilateral meeting, in Nicosia, aiming to strengthen their collective voice in the EU and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Natasa Pilides, Deputy Minister of Shipping chaired the meeting with her two counterparts, Greece’s Shipping and Island Policy Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis and Malta’s Minister for Transport Ian Borg, where they discussed, among others, competitiveness, labour relations, training and ways to reduce pollution.
Before the meeting at the presidential palace, ministers were received by President Nicos Anastasiades.
The meeting was particularly constructive, said Pilides in her remarks. She also noted that the three countries together comprised the EU’s largest fleet and cooperation was therefore particularly important.
Pilides also said that they agreed during the meeting to enhance their cooperation, expecting positive results for all three countries involved, as well as for European and international shipping.
“We discussed ways for our shipping to have a positive impact with regard to reducing pollution and in implementing best practices” in this area, she said.
The Deputy Minister added that the three countries already play a significant role in relevant EU and IMO decisions.
Kouroumblis said apart from the transportation capacity, the sector also provides the EU with €140 billion and creates 2.1 million directly or indirectly-linked jobs.
The Greek minister said the EU should free itself from its “fixation” and “bureaucratic approach” and allow the sector to become more competitive against the Far East.
Borg said “challenges can be turned to opportunities” with the sector’s decarbonisation and digitisation, making use of the latest technologies while cutting red tape.
He also conveyed the expectation that the European Commission would review relevant legislation, addressing the administrative burden put in the past by some directives.
This is important also in order to maintain Europe’s competitiveness in this global industry.