The Malta Independent 23 February 2024, Friday
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MEP Cutajar reaffirms commitment towards sustainable maritime sector in Malta Freeport visit

Thursday, 23 November 2023, 14:45 Last update: about 4 months ago

In a visit to the Malta Freeport in Birżebbuġa, MEP Josianne Cutajar had fruitful discussions with CEO Alex Montebello, along with other representative of Malta Freeport Terminals Limited. This visit was the latest in a series of stakeholder meetings that Dr Cutajar has held in Brussels over the last couple of months, where she also engaged with representatives from the Malta Maritime Forum and the European Network of Maritime Clusters, among others.

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During this meeting, the effects of the revised legislation on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for shipping that is set to apply as from next year, were discussed. Here, MEP Cutajar emphasised that “constant and consistent collaboration remains essential between all private and public stakeholders at national and EU level to address the issues we are being faced with.”

The law in its present state, and without the needed, and timely, corrective measures, such as the inclusion of more non-EU ports under the ETS system, risks being completely counterproductive as despite its stated mission to decarbonise shipping in Europe, it will sacrifice the competitiveness of Maltese and other EU ports, while simply transferring these emissions, together with our business, to North African ports with lower environmental standards.

Cutajar went on to explain her work in the European Parliament to prevent carbon leakage and the real risk that the new ETS poses for transferring port business from Euro-Mediterranean ports to North African ones. From the moment this law started being worked on in the European Parliament, and until the present day, MEP Cutajar proposed several amendments, intervened in Parliament on the matter and put pressure on the European Commission to evaluate and address this reality, as well as to swiftly implement corrective measures which also address the consequential detrimental price hikes and risks to jobs.

Cutajar reiterated that the productive way forward is non-partisan collaboration with similarly affected EU countries and stakeholders, as well as constant engagement and pressure on the European Commission, to find common ground on limiting existing risks in the Mediterranean.

During her visit, MEP Cutajar also had the opportunity to discuss the latest EU digital legislation and also see first-hand the latest digital developments at the Malta Freeport, expressing her satisfaction at the use of digital tools to ensure more competitiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and above all, safety for workers.

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