Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirteenth Report


COM(01) 126

Commission Communication on enhancing Euro-Mediterranean co-operation on transport and energy.
Legal base:
Document originated: 7 March 2001
Forwarded to the Council: 8 March 2001
Deposited in Parliament: 5 April 2001
Departments: Trade and Industry and Environment, Transport and the Regions
Basis of consideration: EM of 24 April 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
To be discussed in Council: May 2001 Industry and Energy Council
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared, but relevant to the debate already recommended in European Standing Committee B on the Barcelona Process


  16.1  The Commission describes the objective of this Communication as to define the broad lines of Euro-Mediterranean co-operation on transport and energy, for the period 2000-2006. At their conference in Malta in April 1997, the Euro-Mediterranean Ministers for foreign affairs identified transport and energy as two of the six priority sectors for regional co-operation under the heading of the economic and financial partnership.[29] The Commission says that the Communication is designed, firstly, to inject new momentum into the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in the transport sector and, secondly, to boost the existing momentum of the partnership in the energy sector.

  16.2  The broader context of the Communication is that of the Barcelona Process. The Nice European Council in December confirmed the EU's commitment to developing the partnership and the Commission has decided to make the Mediterranean one of its priority objectives for 2002. In its Communication, Reinvigorating the Barcelona Process,[30] it made several recommendations on transport and energy. It now summarises these as:

    "—  promotion of South-South and sub-regional co-operation (by sub-region: Maghreb, Mashraq, or any other sub-group of Mediterranean partners);

    "—  the new approach recommended for infrastructure financing (joint funding MEDA (grants)/loans from international financial institutions (notably EIB and World Bank)/national governments/private sector); and

    "—  the need for greater complementarity between regional and bilateral co-operation in the framework of MEDA, notably by transferring the results of regional programmes for the MEDA bilateral programmes."

  16.3  The Commission says that the Communication we consider here should also be seen in the context of its overall review of the security of the energy supply in the EU, Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply,[31] and the draft White Paper on a common transport policy.[32]

The Commission Communication

  16.4  A further aim of the Communication, according to the Commission, is to take stock of five years of Euro-Mediterranean co-operation on transport and energy, and to propose ways of enhancing this co-operation, on the basis of experience gained.

The transport sector

  16.5  A package of regional projects on sea transport was approved in 1997 with MEDA funding of 8.4 million euros. The projects mainly concerned technical and safety aspects, including dangerous goods and waste collection, port information systems, hydrographical studies and flag state policy. Some of these projects have been completed but others have been delayed "for administrative reasons that will be resolved shortly".

  16.6  Advocating greater use of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum, the Commission sets out a number of areas in which specific measures could be taken to re-launch co-operation in the transport sector. These include:

  • support for reform of sectoral policies which do not allow for sufficient competition and have inadequate institutional and regulatory frameworks, as well as excessive state influence;

  • the creation of a favourable climate for private investment in the southern Mediterranean through measures such as the approximation of social, technical, environmental and safety standards, modernising the management of traffic flows and improving the interface between transport services and the customs and immigration authorities and the banking and insurance sectors;

  • examining ways to improve maritime and aviation safety through stricter control of classification societies, the establishment of a vessel monitoring, control and information system and the introduction of double-hull tankers. Air traffic management could be supported through co-operation on the acquisition and mastery by the Mediterranean Partners of the new techniques being put in place in the EU;

  • improving short-sea shipping services with faster ships and administrative procedures;

  • liberalising air transport; and

  • studying ways of associating the Mediterranean Partners with Galileo, the second generation European satellite navigation and position system which is planned to become operational in 2006.

The energy sector

  16.7  The Commission gives two main reasons for developing close collaboration with the 12 Mediterranean Partners[33] in the energy sector:

  • geographical proximity to Europe's southern flank is a crucial factor, given the importance of transit of energy sources from other neighbouring regions such as the Gulf and Caucasus; and

  • the cumulative volume of oil and gas reserves in the Mediterranean Partners is an important guarantee of supplies to the EU.

  16.8  The Commission concludes that the Mediterranean Partners are at a stage where their energy sectors require radical adjustment. They are still generally dominated by centralised, state-controlled monopolies. This is a major disincentive to foreign direct investment, which is crucial for increasing production, particularly in electricity. There should be convergence of the energy policies of the EU and the Mediterranean Partners and the EU should make every effort to encourage the Mediterranean Partners to accede to the Energy Charter Treaty as a reference framework for the security of supply and promotion of investment. Further consideration should also be given to enlarging INOGATE[34] to include them. This is an EU programme to promote the construction and interconnection of oil and gas transport infrastructures between the EU and the regions of the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean and South-East Europe.

  16.9  There is also a need for:

  • the Mediterranean markets to integrate and develop interconnections; and

  • the promotion of a sustainable development model, including the use of renewables.

  16.10  To ensure a continuous dialogue, the EU has put in place the Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum.


  16.11  We have drawn this Communication to the attention of the House as an example of activity which is taking place to re-invigorate the Barcelona Process. We have already recommended the Communication referred to in paragraph 16.2 above for debate in European Standing Committee B[35] and we now recommend that this document be tagged as relevant to that debate. Meanwhile, we clear the document.

29  The four other priority areas identified were industrial policy, water, environment and the information society. Back

30  (21492) 11381/00; see HC 23-xxviii (1999-2000), paragraph 9 (1 November 2000), HC 23-xxix (1999-2000), paragraph 10 (15 November 2000) and HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 1 (28 February 2001). Back

31  (22096) 5619/01; see HC 28-xi (2000-01), paragraph 2 (4 April 2001). Back

32  Not yet published. Back

33  Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority. Back

34  Interstate Oil and Gas Transport to Europe. Back

35  (21492) 11381/00; see HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 1 (28 February 2001). Back

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