Mr. Simpson was invited for an exchange of views with ESPO Executive Committee about his work as coordinator of Motorways of the Sea (MoS). He stressed the importance of ports in the MoS framework that need to be further enhanced in the TEN-T multimodal corridors. In particular, he invited ports to raise more strongly their voice towards the Members States on the need of ports for appropriate funding for investments given their importance in intra-EU and extra-EU trade.
In the first MoS call, environmental projects constitute 60% of awarded projects. Proposed projects in non-cohesion countries requested 3 times more than budget available under the Connecting Europe Facility. By contrast, projects from cohesion countries requested 1/3 of the MoS available budget. This is mainly due to the fact that the maritime sector has encountered difficulties in obtaining Member States approval and funding of its projects. This has forced some ports to apply for the general envelope of the Connecting Europe Facility. To avoid imbalances, Mr. Simpson encouraged ports from cohesion countries (especially in the Black Sea) to raise their voice towards Members States and present more projects in the next calls. He stressed the fact that projects with non-EU countries are possible but that at least 2 EU countries need to be involved.
Mr. Simpson stressed his role in the assessment of ports projects over all 9 corridors, and not only for projects under MoS. For this reason, ports willing to present projects were invited to contact him and his assistant Mr. José Anselmo. This is particularly important in view of the revision of the Corridor Work Plans and the so-called MoS Implementation Plan that Mr. Simpson is preparing and that he will present to the European Parliament in Spring 2016. The MoS Implementation Plan will include the main current and future MoS projects around the three main MoS priorities: 1) Environment; 2) Integration of Maritime Transport in the Logistics Chain; 3) Maritime Safety, Traffic Management, Human Element/Training. In order to prepare the MoS Implementation Plan, the Commission is currently hiring consultants and ports will soon be consulted.
Finally, he stated that the new MoS call will be published in October-November for both cohesion and non-cohesion countries. The aim is to publish 3 calls in total over 3 years for a total budget of 1 billion euro.