Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) EU Council, and Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the decarbonization of the maritime sector to strengthen the green push.
In a statement released on Thursday, the EU Council pointed out that transitioning to more environmentally friendly and renewable fuels will reduce the maritime sector’s carbon footprint.
Andreas Carlson, Swedish Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, expressed their belief that “the agreement will ensure a level playing field and make sure that fuel suppliers, ships and maritime operators will have sufficient time to adapt to the new conditions so the maritime sector will deliver on the climate targets.”
The Council pointed out that the goal of the FuelEU Maritime initiative is to lower the maritime sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate demand for environmentally friendly fuels while securing the smooth operation of the sector and preventing market distortions.
“The proposal aims to put maritime transport on the trajectory of the EU’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050,” the Council stressed and added that it should help the bloc to achieve its environmental targets.
Exceptions for sensitive areas
The Council noted that new rules include “time-limited exceptions for the specific treatment of the outermost regions, small islands, and areas economically highly dependent on their connectivity.”
It added that new rules introduce more ambitious environmental targets and amend the requirements for connected systems with the aim of strengthening the green push.
In addition, the proposal includes special rules for ships navigating on ice and stricter rules for energy used onboard ships.
As part of the plan, fossil fuels will be excluded from the certification process, with the Council stressing that new rules will be adapted and amended as needed.
The Council pointed out that the EC will monitor the implementation of new rules and draw up periodic reports on progress.
The proposal still needs to be approved formally by the EU Council and Parliament, with the Swedish presidency announcing plans to submit it to bloc members as soon as possible.
The Council reminded that the EC presented the FuelEU Maritime initiative in 2021 as part of the bloc’s broader environmental efforts and expressed hope that it will help the EU to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.