The European Commission (EC) has accepted a proposal, brought forward by Malta and other countries, to make more detailed assessments of the impact of the new Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) on EU Mediterranean ports’ ability to compete with other ports in the region that are not in the EU and therefore not subject to the scheme.

Following an urgent meeting of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development where the potential impact of the ETS on Malta’s maritime sector was the main topic of discussion, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli raised the matter during a Council of Environment Ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

Minister Dalli once again called on the EC to carry out a more detailed assessment to include more non-EU Mediterranean ports, raising the concern that potential loopholes could lead to an unequal playing field between EU ports and non-EU ports. She insisted that these concerns need to be addressed. More countries joined this call, asking the Commission to manage the issue.

Wopke Hoekstra, European Commissioner for Climate Action, accepted the proposal for continued monitoring, and confirmed that the Commission, with the support of member states and other stakeholders in the ports, will continue monitoring and gathering information on the impact of the EU ETS on the overall competitiveness of the EU maritime sector.

“We will reach out to you to get the information you currently have available, and I think we should make sure that we continue that dialogue. If the information we’re gathering due to this close monitoring should be reason for additional action we should discuss it,” Commissioner Hoekstra said.

Minister Dalli confirmed Malta’s readiness to work with the Commission and the different member states to closely monitor this matter and identify other avenues to resolve current concerns, pre-empting any repercussions. She also asked for a discussion on different avenues to support industry to mitigate risks to avoid carbon leakage.

She also urged for urgent regional and global solutions within the International Maritime Organisation to address the decarbonisation of the maritime sector to ensure a truly level playing field.

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