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European Parliament Votes in Favour of European Port Strategy

19th January 2024
Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly
Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly

The European Parliament has urged the European Commission to present a European port strategy by the end of 2024.

A report approved today by the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg highlights the risk of economic dependence, espionage and sabotage, while also emphasising the need to maintain a competitive framework for port activities.

The report, which passed by 585 votes in favour to 21 against and 26 abstentions has been supported by Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly, who said that “it is crucial for Europe, and Ireland in particular, to ensure that our ports are not only competitive but strategically developed to meet the demands of the future”.

The report highlights concerns about non-EU countries' economic presence in European ports, with particular attention to China, Kelly notes.

"While we welcome international collaboration, we must be vigilant about potential risks such as economic dependence, espionage, and sabotage. Ireland, through ports like Shannon Foynes, Bantry, Cork and Rosslare, can take a lead in ensuring our maritime infrastructure remains secure and resilient,” he says.

"The development of offshore wind in the Shannon estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitments and contributes significantly to Europe's broader strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports. It needs to be one of the first names on the team sheet in the governments offshore wind industrial strategy,” Kelly says.

Kelly says it presents an opportunity for a new industrial ecosystem based on green electricity and hydrogen production.

Scattery Island on the Shannon estuary -  The development of offshore wind in the estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitmentsScattery Island on the Shannon estuary -  The development of offshore wind in the estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitments according to MEP Sean Kelly

"This isn't just about energy; it's about creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, and positioning Ireland as a key player in the renewable energy market,”he says.

"Cooperation between EU ports is essential to tackle the outlined challenges. Ireland must actively engage in this dialogue, ensuring that our ports are not just participants but leaders in shaping the future of European trade and energy,”he says.

Kelly said he also voted in favour of another related parliamentary report adopted today which warns against Chinese influence on critical infrastructure such as transport infrastructure and ports, telecommunications networks, rare metals and undersea cables.

Published in Ports & Shipping Team

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