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Commission Suspends Marco Polo Support for Motorways of the Sea

Date: 13/01/2011

On 10 December, a joint Short Sea Shipping and Motorways of the Sea Focal Points meeting was held in Bruges. The meeting was organised by the European Commission to brief Member States on its policies affecting short sea shipping, including Motorways of the Sea (MoS). The Commission also provided feedback on the state of affairs of other transport policy issues. Hilde Crevits, Flemish Minister for Mobility and Works, gave in her opening remarks a new meaning to the acronym SSS: Superfast, Strong and Successful. The Commission sketched the broader context of the TEN-T review and underlined that TEN-T should not only been seen as a funding mechanism, but also as a political and legal framework to develop infrastructure. Under the TEN-T MoS call 2010, 8 proposals were selected for further negotiation. The next call for proposals is expected for autumn 2011, when 300 million Euro will be brought back into the programme from the last mid-term review. The TEN-T Agency could not confirm the call for 2012 yet. Under the 2010 Marco Polo MoS call, 35 contracts are under negotiation at this moment, of which 1 Motorways of the Sea Action. The Commission confirmed however that there will be no call for MoS under Marco Polo in 2011. It argued that past experience shows that the dual TEN-T / Marco Polo programmes for MoS created substantial confusion and need to be reviewed. The Commission also reported on progress regarding the port formalities directive, the blue belt pilot project, the EU E-maritime initiative and on complying with low sulphur requirements.

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