Mediterranean Countries are encouraged to work towards the assignment of the tasks of port and terminal management, on the one hand, and regulation, on the other hand, to different autonomous agencies. Port and terminal management should be decentralized, for instance, through private sector concessions. The concept of port community could be installed within each port. The European Commission is called upon to support the transfer of know-how, inter alia, through twinning activities and the dissemination of best-practices.
Regional Transport Action Plan (RTAP)for the Mediterranean Region
In the Mediterranean region, intensive and continuous dialog was conducted through the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum and its Working Groups under the auspice of Barcelona process. The strategy of the Forum for the development of an Integrated Euro-Mediterranean Transport System is described in the Blue Paper . Moreover, the Mediterranean countries took part in the High Level Group (HLG) for the extension of the main Trans-European Transport axes to neighboring countries. [+]
- Several of the actions (and especially those concerned with regulatory reform) are to be implemented at the national level but monitored at the multilateral level. This will be done in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum and with technical support provided by the European Commission through ongoing and future EuroMed regional projects (SAFEMED, Motorways of the Sea, GNSS and EuroMed Aviation Project) as well as technical assistance and twinning programmes at bilateral level.
- Actions relating to infrastructure envisage the detailed specification of projects on the main transport axes connecting Mediterranean Countries with each other and/or the EU (Annex A), in anticipation of investment decisions at the multilateral level. The projects listed in Annex A are not definite. The list is provisional, based on the recommendations of the High Level Group. It will be further discussed with the countries in view of defining and adopting a Euro-Mediterranean regional transport network.
Context and Background
Way forward: strategy 2007-2013
It is essential that transport planning and policy are better coordinated at different levels, more specifically between national master plans or transport strategies, the ENP action plans and the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Actions proposed in the RTAP should therefore be tailored to the national needs and reflected in national transport strategies and/or, if relevant, the ENP action plans.
Maritime transport and ports
Improving the efficiency of ports
Continue work on the simplification of customs procedures in line with the recommendations of the Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministerial Conference (Palermo recommendations), taking into account the commitments made in the context of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and, whenever applicable, those in the framework of the ENP Action Plans. Technical support in this regard will be provided by the EuroMed MoS project.
Elaborate national measures for the reduction of dwell times in container terminals with the support of the EuroMed Motorways of the Sea (MoS) project. These measures should be used by each port management authority as a basis for their annual business plans.
Introduce in the short-term the recommendations of the IMO-FAL Convention for standardizing basic reporting formalities of ships when arriving and/or departing from ports so that documentation can be accepted equivalently in all regional ports. Technical support in this respect shall be provided by the EuroMed MoS project.
Reforms in the shipping sector
Mediterranean Countries are encouraged to assess the performance of competition-related reforms in their national shipping sectors and to produce recommendations for the removal of factors distorting competition. The working group on ‘maritime transport’ of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum is called to monitor this activity in the short-term. The EC should provide external expertise as required.
Regulatory reform on safety and security
With regard to international conventions and given the pressing need to improve maritime safety and security, priority should be given to the full implementation of safety and security requirements deriving from IMO/ILO regulations. The ISPS security regulation should be implemented efficiently both at the Flag State and Ports levels following the recommendations and with the technical support of the SAFEMED project. Ideally this alignment should already become effective in 2008. The medium-term goal by 2013 is to effect the removal of Mediterranean Countries from the black list and to reach the inspections’ target of the Paris MoU.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is called upon to examine ways for cooperation with the Mediterranean Countries and, on this basis, to define concrete areas of cooperation.
Mediterranean Countries are invited to assess, and, when possible, implement, VTS or VTMIS systems in the major Mediterranean ports and coordinate technological solutions between neighbouring ports and coastal areas. The expertise assembled by EMSA and SAFEMED on this as well as on the use of ICT (including GNSS) for improving the efficiency of sea / land interfaces should be used appropriately.
Road transport: harmonizing international road freight
A Mediterranean task force comprising officials from the national road administrations should be set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum in the short-term to assess adherence to a number of key UN ECE agreements and identify measures to implement these agreements. The task force should also prepare recommendations for the gradual liberalization and harmonization of international road haulage.
The task force on road transport shall also deal with necessary reforms in the road industry. In particular, it will examine ways to reform the road haulage and passenger sector, in order to increase the professionalism of drivers (through stringent and regular driver tests), operators (by introducing a licensing system) as well as the technical state of the vehicle fleet (by introducing road worthiness tests and complementary measures supporting the upgrading of the vehicle fleets). It is recommended that road worthiness tests are made mandatory for operators engaged in international transport by 2009.
Railway transport: interoperability and structural reform
Increasing the attractiveness of rail transport in the long-term will necessitate both infrastructure investments and structural reform. In the medium-term, i.e. by 2013, Mediterranean Countries are invited to: elaborate a time and financing plan on those infrastructure investments that concern, inter alia, interoperability, the renovation of rolling stock, electrification and signalling systems.
Furthermore, Mediterranean Countries are advised to embark on structural railway reform, beginning with effecting an appropriate separation of infrastructure management from operations. This implies that access to rail infrastructure (including licensing railway undertakings, deciding path allocation as well as charges) will be decided independently from any railway undertaking.
Civil aviation: opening-up markets and making air transport safer and sustainable
Opening-up the aviation market
Mediterranean Countries are encouraged to assess the scope of reform of national aviation legislation in order to facilitate the opening up of their air transport markets to competition, including, as the case may be, to allow competition for public flag carriers. This is especially important if considering participation in the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). Technical support in this respect will be provided by the EuroMed Aviation Project which is currently working on producing a road map for the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean Common Aviation Area (EMCAA). This will be finalized in 2010.
Making air transport safer and secure
The sustainability of the air transport sector in the region requires that Mediterranean Countries introduce the same rules in their transport legislation as those included in the international and European regulations governing civil aviation (i.e. regulations of EC/EASA and JAA). For this purpose the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) is called upon to specify and elaborate concrete cooperation areas with the Mediterranean Countries by 2009.
Mediterranean Countries are invited to introduce cross-border regional arrangements with regard to aviation accident and incident investigation and reinforce their safety oversight capacity. Regarding aviation security, Mediterranean Countries are called upon to align security regulatory functions and security oversight mechanisms with the ECAA acquis and to reinforce the security oversight capacity of the competent authorities. The working group ‘air transport’ of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum should coordinate the exchange of information.
Developing integrated multimodal services and issues
The development of logistic platforms in the Mediterranean Countries is a high priority. European Commission support will be provided through facilitation activities like TAIEX workshops or twining projects. The EIB study on the subject (to be completed in mid-2007) is a very important exercise which will provide a good basis for the development of logistic platforms in the future.
Role of infrastructure investment and development
In the framework of the EuroMed Forum, Euro-Mediterranean countries will set up a network of transport experts to collaborate on regularly assembling and analyzing transport data, maintaining a common database of demand, GIS network data and common forecasting scenarios for the Mediterranean. Such a network already exists in the framework of CETMO for the western Mediterranean. This should be expanded in the course of 2007 and 2008 to include representatives from eastern Mediterranean Countries. Assuming the successful and timely implementation of a permanent secretariat to support the activities of the Euro-Mediterranean transport forum (see action 34), the two actions should be linked.
The role of assessment and prioritization
Mediterranean Countries are invited to take the necessary steps for developing the projects provisionally identified by the High-Level Group (HLG) as short-term priorities (see Annex A) as well as any other projects on the HLG axes singled out by the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum. All approved projects should be subsequently systematically appraised through full feasibility studies. The European Commission encourages and supports the development of border crossing projects in order to complete the physical integration of the Euro-Mediterranean countries.
Further to the above, Mediterranean Countries are encouraged to submit the projects identified by the HLG as priorities in the long-term (to start after 2010) to pre-feasibility studies in anticipation of the review of the HLG priorities in 2010. Alternative proposals should be considered for projects displaying low suitability according to the completed pre-feasibility studies. The pre-feasibility studies on all the long-term priorities should be completed by 2010 and be followed by full feasibility studies by 2013.
Mediterranean Countries are invited to facilitate, to the extent possible and where relevant, the successful implementation of the first two MoS pilot projects in 2008 and 2009; and to take into account their approach and replicate their best practices in future MoS projects to be installed in 2010-2013.
Strategic environmental assessments and environmental impact assessments have to be carried out for all relevant plans, programmes and projects concerning transport, especially with regard to port infrastructure, management and operations.
In order to expand the pool of environmental expertise available to Mediterranean Countries regarding transport, it is recommended to enhance the environmental expertise within national transport ministries, for example by establishing dedicated environmental units.
Future infrastructure needs assessment or feasibility studies should entail a risk assessment and management strategy through the incorporation of scenarios on socio-economic development.
It is equally important to recall the goals of accessibility and public service obligation in transport planning. With respect to infrastructure investment, it is important to ensure the organic linkage of all new infrastructures on the trans-national axes with the national networks.
Safety and security considerations
Without prejudice to actions taken in other transport modes, safety aspects should be integrated in the design, construction and operation of any future road links and nodes and in the upgrading of existing links. This should follow the standards prescribed by international best practice.
Mediterranean Countries should continue to collaborate with the EuroMed GNSS projects and liaise with the GALILEO Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation Office (GEMCO). The Mediterranean Countries should also liaise with the European Commission regarding the progress and opportunities related to the gradual introduction of European GNSS services in the region as of 2011.
Building institutional and organizational capacity
Training, twinning and exchange programmes aiming at improving institutional capacity must be continued over the next five-year period and expanded through management seminars to assist in the organizational reform of transport administrations, maintaining institutional capacity and upgrading knowledge. Mediterranean Countries are invited to propose related activities to the TAIEX instrument.
The challenge of financing
The role of the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument
Assisted by the Working Group on infrastructure and regulatory issues, Mediterranean Countries are encouraged to start technical work on the priorities identified by the HLG or approved alternatives (see actions 19-21). These priorities should also provide the reference basis for the funding of feasibility and other studies by the NIF.
The role of Public Private Partnerships
The European Commission is called upon to complete a micro-study evaluating the opportunities, chances and risks for PPPs in the Mediterranean region. The study will describe the current situation, thereby highlighting the legal possibilities and obstacles, and list the transport PPPs already implemented in the region. It will also publicize those projects with a potential to be implemented as PPPs and liaise with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and private investors active in the Mediterranean region to gauge their potential interest in financing these projects.
The role of coordination among financing institutions
The European Commission is called upon to hold a coordination meeting or set of meetings with the various International Financial Institutions (IFIs) active in the Mediterranean region, notably in the context of the MoU on cooperation in the MEDA region signed between the EC, the EIB and the World Bank in May 2004. The aim of these meetings – to take place in 2007-2008 and be chaired by the EC – should be to establish an Infrastructure Steering Group for facilitating coordination on regional transport priorities in line with strategies defined by the national authorities. In addition, the option for a Project Preparation Facility should be explored. Such a facility would be in charge of financing technical assistance for project preparation in order to make potential investments bankable.
The Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum as the key umbrella
The Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum as the main platform for the discussion, monitoring and regular update of the RTAP shall deliver a mid-term review of the RTAP by the end of 2009 and a final review report by mid-2013. Given that the executive capacity of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum is limited, the European Commission – as secretariat of the Forum – should continue to provide the support required to prepare reports and updates.
The establishment of a new thematic Working Group
In order to fulfil its monitoring task with respect to the implementation of the trans-national axes in the Mediterranean, the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum is invited to establish an additional thematic WG in 2007 to deal with infrastructures for all modes of transport, and with regulatory issues for land transport. The working group should consider multimodality, focusing on the main Mediterranean transport axes but taking the wider transport network into account. Furthermore, it should coordinate its work with other Forum working groups. The European Commission should provide organizational and financial support for the running of these working groups.
Towards a Euro-Mediterranean knowledge centre
The Commission is invited to consider the establishment and maintenance of a permanent secretariat on Mediterranean transport to support the operation of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum through the systematic collection and analysis of relevant data and the supply of expertise (see also action 18). Such a secretariat should ideally comprise two programme areas dealing with Western and Eastern Mediterranean respectively, given the different opportunities and challenges and the variable development of institutional structures of regional cooperation in the two sub-regions. A feasibility plan on the establishment of such a permanent secretariat should be completed by the end of 2007 and take into account the experiences made by CETMO for the Western Mediterranean.