This Newsletter follows the successful MIF Plenary in Bremen earlier this year and provides the opportunity to enclose a summary of the conclusions of the MIF, together with some key updates on progress since then. More details of these and other activities are contained below. (previous Newsletters can be found here).


  1. MIF 2005 – Conclusions of the Bremen Plenary Session, January 2005
  2. Waterborne Technology Platform
  3. The New Commission Work Programme
  4. Commission Maritime Policy Task Force – Consultation invited
  5. News from DG Research of future RTD Programme
  6. Update on WTO Dispute on Korean Subsidies in Shipbuilding
  7. Other topics –

  1. MIF 2005 – Conclusions of the Bremen Plenary Session, January 2005 After a space of ten years, the MIF returned to Bremen, with its Plenary Session following on from the German National Maritime Conference, which was attended by the German Chancellor. Since its Plenary at Naples in 2002. the MIF had held a Maritime Security Workshop in Antwerp during 2004, as well as continuing its progress within its various Working Groups. A key feature of the Bremen MIF Plenary, which was attended by Vice President Verheugen, was the launch of the WATERBORNE TP Technology Platform (see next item). The conclusions of the Forum in Bremen are attached and will be progressed by the MIF over the next year. The MIF Co-ordination group is always keen to hear from MIF participants with contributions to make in the Working Groups, and those interested are invited to contact the Executive Secretary: [email protected] Meanwhile, any comments or suggestions on any aspect of the MIF’s work are of course always welcome.
  2. Waterborne technology Platform Following the launch of the WATERBORNE TP Technology Platform on 25th January 2005 at the MIF Plenary in Bremen, which took place in the presence of the Vice President of the EU-Commission Gnter Verheugen and which manifested the strategic importance of the maritime and inland navigation industry for the EU, the kick-off meeting of the platform’s “workhorses”, the Support Group and the Member States Mirror Group took place on Friday 1st April 2005 in Brussels.
    In total, 45 experts and delegates participated, including 21 representatives from 18 Member States and representatives of DG RTD, DG FISH and DG TREN as well as most members of the MIF-R&D Strategic Planning Group (RDSPG).
    The meeting’s results were:
    • the approval of the Terms of Reference of the WATERBORNE TP the establishment of working groups for the detailing of the medium and long term Vision 2020;
    • the setting of the workplan for 2005.
      The first task will be to establish the WATERBORNE TP Vision document, based on the agreed three pillars until Mid June 2005 (Pillar 1: A Competitive European Maritime Industry; Pillar 2: Safe, Sustainable and Efficient Waterborne Transport and Operations; Pillar 3: Keep Pace with Future Population and Trade Growth Challenges).
      Based on this Vision document, the next step will be the establishment of a detailed Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), which will have to be finalised in November 2005. The SRA will replace the “Maritime Industry R&D Master Plan 02-04” and will serve as input for the coming FP7.
      WATERBORNE TP has acknowledged the challenging targets and has set sail towards them.

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  1. The New Commission Work Programme The new European Commission has just completed it’s first 100 days in office. During this time, it has clearly set out it’s stall and placed jobs and growth at the very top of its agenda. (Commission Vice-President Guenter Verheugen is in charge of the Enterprise and Industry portfolio, with Vice-President Jacques Barrot dealing with Transport and Janez Potocnik covering Science and Research.) In setting out it’s strategic objectives for the next 5 years, the Commission stressed the need for greater prosperity, solidarity and security and mapped out an agenda to improve competitiveness and generate more jobs and growth. It called for a re-invigorated and refocused Lisbon agenda and greater support for the key drivers of growth such as innovation whilst vowing to help create a more business friendly environment. This is a significant shift in emphasis that includes a series of planned initiatives to improve competitiveness such as “better regulation” and modern and revitalised sectoral policies. The Spring European Council (22/3/05) endorsed this strategy and called on all stakeholders to play their part in making it a success. More information is available at –
  2. Commission Maritime Policy Task Force – Consultation invited President Barroso has asked Commissioner Borg “to steer a new Maritime Policy Task Force with the aim of launching a wide consultation on a future Maritime Policy for the Union”. The initial aim is to issue a Green Paper in this respect in early 2006. The Task Force will seek to identify the potential for beneficial synergies between sea-related sectoral policies as well as to examine how these could help improve competitiveness, encourage growth and boost employment in an economic, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. It will seek expertise from those with experience in the relevant areas to address this in preparing a consultation paper, or Green Paper. The Task Force will include a wide range of Commission services (including DG Enterprise and Industry) and will be given political guidance by a Steering Group of Commissioners, composed of Vice-President Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry), Vice-President Barrot (Transport), Commissioner Dimas (Environment), Commissioner Hbner (Regional Policy), Commissioner Potocnik (Research), Commissioner Piebalgs (Energy) and Commissioner Borg (Fisheries and Maritime Affairs). The Steering Group will meet at least four times before the Green Paper is presented. The Task Force will comprise of an Inter-service Working Group and a Secretariat (provided by DG FISH).

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  1. News from DG Research of future RTD Programme The next call for surface transport (including maritime) research proposals is expected to be published at the end of March. This will be last principal call in the FP6 sustainable surface transport programme. The call topics will build upon the experience and results gained following previous evaluations. Approximately 150 million of EU support is expected to be committed towards rail, road and maritime collaborative research projects. Full details including the open domains can be found following publication at:
    Applicant consortia must meet rules concerning European participation, however it should be noted that organisations from International cooperation countries can also receive support.(see and ) The participation of these countries together with participants from the new member states is particularly welcome. Work is now underway to establish the structure of FP7 (2007 to 2013) with a tight timetable that foresees formal adoption of the proposal in early April 2005. This work has followed extensive consultation with both public and within the Commission services. Transport is expected to be one of 9 priorities in an ambitious and expanded programme. More details will become available through the year and can be found at:
  2. Update on WTO Dispute on Korean Subsidies in Shipbuilding On 7 March 2005, the WTO issued the report of the panel that had examined the EU’s complaint against Korea concerning measures affecting trade in commercial vessels (DS273). In a mixed and in some ways inconclusive final report, the WTO has ruled that South Korea provided prohibited export subsidies to its shipbuilders in the form of individual transactions with the state-run Korean Export-Import Bank (KEXIM). The panel further concluded: “Taking into account the procedures that may be required to implement our recommendation on the one hand, and the requirement that Korea withdraw its subsidies ‘without delay’ on the other, we recommend that Korea withdraw the individual APRG (advance payment refund guarantee) and PSL (pre-shipment loans) subsidies within 90 days.” However, the panel rejected claims that South Korea, by providing subsidies, had “caused serious prejudice to the interests of the European Communities.” The EU had claimed these subsidies were provided to Daewoo-Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering/Daewoo Heavy Industries, Samho Heavy Industries/ Halla Heavy Industries, and STX/ Daedong through support for workout and restructuring plans, tax concessions, and the grant of KEXIM APRGs and pre-shipment loans. The full report can be accessed on the WTO site via the following link –

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  1. Other topics – News of Personalities:
    Within DG Research Mr Joost de Bock has replaced Mr Frederic Sgarbi and joined Mr Michail Kyriakopoulos and Mr Peter Crawley within the maritime transport crew, under the captainship of Mrs Luisa Prista head of unit H2 Surface Transport. Mr Rodrigo Vila De Benavent has taken over as the new Head of Unit for Short Sea Shipping, Inland Waterways and Ports Policy, within Directorate G, at DG TREN.