Past Event

European Maritime Day Conference

Conferenza della Giornata Europea del Mare

18 – 20 May 2009
Palazzo Colonna
Rome, Italy


The European Maritime Day (20 May) has become an occasion to highlight the crucial role played by the Oceans and the Seas. It contributes to a better visibility of the maritime sectors and more recognition of the importance they play in everyday life. The European Commission, in partnership with the Italian Government, organised a European Maritime Stakeholder Conference in Rome, Italy from 18 - 20 May 2009.

This conference was a big success last but not least thanks to the generous invitation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Minister Altero Matteoli as well as the unique venue - Palazzo Colonna - right in the heart of Rome, at the base of the Quirinal Hill, adjacent to the church of Santi Apostoli. The palace is owned by the Colonna family over more than 20 generations and is open for the public only on special occasions. The salons of Palazzo Colonna have witnessed some of history’s most exceptional events.

Commissioner Joe Borg stated in his concluding remarks “although the venue is located some twenty kilometres from the Mediterranean coastline, Palazzo Colonna has been the perfect vantage point from which to look at the oceans and seas through fresh eyes“.

Several side events - to mention only the European Cruise Council 2009 Conference - organised in parallel to fifteen workshops are a proof for the strong stakeholder involvement in this conference. Several hundred delegates were given the chance to discuss - in a cross-sectoral manner - a vast range of issues from governance, maritime transport, maritime heritage, climate change, maritime spatial planning to maritime clusters and the maritime response to the economic crisis.

The European Maritime Day has been a strong illustration of the Commission’s shared commitment towards an integrated maritime policy.

Maritime Day

Palazzo Colonna

Marina Militare

Palazzo Colonna

Monday, 18 May 2009

PTMB Technology Platform Mediterranean and Black Sea

Dr. Mario Dogliani from RINA and Lucio Sabbadini from Fincantieri as well as Livio Marquesini from Fincantieri/ASSONAVE are considered to be the protagonists of PTMB which receives massive support from PTNM Plattaforma Tecnologica Nazionale Marittima and RITMARE Ricerca Italiana per il Mare. Seven coastal states from the North and the South of the Mediterranean Sea share this platform. The PTMB has been taking the Technology Platform Waterborne as an example but with a strong emphasis on regional clusters, united in the spirit of “la culture de la mer“ as Mohamed Nadir Aziza from The Mediterranean Observatory has put it so fittingly in his presentation.

Business integration and competitiveness in the maritime sector are greatly enhanced by the formation of multi-sectoral clusters. The Commission has been encouraging regional centres of maritime excellence and strongly supports a European network of maritime clusters.

The presentation of Marcello Guiana from the AREA Science Park in Trieste has very much attracted AMEM, well known as the best practice example for a successful maritime cluster in a landlocked country, at least since the Prague Conference on 27 April 2009 under the CZ Presidency.

“The STARNETregio project has been conceived by authorities of the autonomous regions Friuli, Venezia, Giulia and the AREA Science Park to increase the overall capacity of these three regions plus Slovenia and the county of Rijeka (Fiume) in Croatia to properly invest in RTD and develop industrial innovation with a specific focus on

  • shipbuilding (Fincantieri, Monfalcone)
  • ports and marine equipment


Several Austrian companies enjoy a very active business relationship with Fincantieri in Trieste and Monfalcone as well as Wärtsiä in San Dorligo della Valle near the city of Trieste and some Austrian companies have affiliated companies in Fruili, Venezia, Giulia, Slovenia and Croatia think only about Palfinger or Thermax.

AMEM - a strong advocator of a new definition of SMEs, efficient IP protection, product and certificate authentication as well as tracing and tracking of genuine marine equipment will definitely find a common platform for an open exchange of views with marine equipment manufacturers in the regions South of its borders.

Arrival of delegates


Robert Thompson, Unicom
Professor Mohammed Nadir Aziza, Mediterranean Observatory
Christos Hadjichristou, Embassy of Cyprus in Brussels
Prof. Bouchta el Moumni, University of Tanger, Morocco
Fabrizia Benini, DG MARE

Paris Sansoglou, EuDA
Giuseppe Balzano, CONFITARMA

PTMB Panel
Prof. J. Piantoni
Dr. Mario Dogliani, RINA
Massimo Baldinato, DG TREN
Prof. Francesco Beltrame, CNR Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Susanna Longo, Regional Ministry for Innovation and Industry Piemonte Region

Christos Hadjichristou, Embassy of Cypus, Brussels
Robert Thompson, Unicom

Maurizio d‘Amico, d’Amico Societa di Navigazione

Livio Marquesini, ASSONAVE
Lucio Sabbadini, Fincantieri

Marcello Guaiana, AREA Science Park

Ioannis Tzoannos, Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine

Dr. Mario Dogliani, RINA
Dr. Enrico Maria Pujia

PTMB Technology Platform Mediterranean and Black Sea

Sala Grande Galleria Palazzo Colonna

Joining Friedrich Huemer, Head of Division III/2 from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, AMEM’s chairman John Kuehmayer had the privilege of attending the High Level Member States Meeting in the breath taking Sala Grande of the Palazzo Colonna.

Lukas Folbrecht from the CZ Presidency gave a short report about the international conference and workshop entitled “Maritime Clusters in Landlocked Countries“ which was so successfully organised with DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Prague on April 27, 2009. Lukas Folbrecht explicitly mentioned the services related cluster from Luxembourg and AMEM - Austrian Marine Equipment Manufacturers as a best industry practice example from a landlocked country and stressed the fact that clusters perfectly match the idea of a Europe without barriers. Folbrecht also draw the attention to Platina the Strategic Research Agenda under the 7th Framework Programme for the modernisation of inland river vessels.

More than 100 delegates from private sector and public authorities participated in the conference and workshop and took the chance of networking during a wonderful cruise on the Vltava River in the presence of Commissioner Joe Borg and high level executives from the European Commission, Parliament and the Government of the Czech Republic.

Sala Grande Galleria

Sala Grande Galleria

CZ Presidency, Lukas Folbrecht, Report Maritime Clusters in Landlocked Countries

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

ECC European Cruise Council 2009 Conference

Now in its third year, the European Cruise Council brought together cruise lines, shipyards, suppliers and ports operating in Europe. This year’s conference was held in coordination with the European Commission and its Maritime Day event. The major topics addressed at the conference included the European Commission’s Integrated Maritime Policy, the status of the cruise industry in Europe, including its economic impact, environmental issues, destinations and port infrastructure, as well as new regulations.

The European Cruise Council actively promotes the interests of cruise operators, in all matters of shipping policy and ship operations. It not only promotes cruising by the European public, it wants to open new markets outside the European Union like Russia or the Ukraine where visa regulations hamper free travel of passengers and crew to EU ports. Thus the European Cruise Council exerts a massive political influence on the European Commission toward “cruise tourism without boundaries”.

Session 1: Key note addresses Industry status and economic impact

As the US market’s potential has become stagnant if not declining, more and more “assets” are moved across the Atlantic into European waters reaching close to 200 vessels, transforming this region into one of the leading growth markets. The European Impact Report showed that in 2008, 4.7 million passengers joined their cruise at a European port and the number of cruise ships operating in Europe rose by 38 percent compared to 2005.

Rome born Dr. Corrado Antonini, the industry veteran s.p. “senza paura”, CEO of Fincantieri and Honorary Chairman of CESA once again gave a very realistic picture of the industry, which sounded unjustified pessimistic in the ears of those who worship the liberalism dictated main stream and follow the “think positive” substitute religion in other words - the cruise company executives who’s reaction was a very sceptical one. They obviously speculate on drastically falling cruise ship prices because of the severe economic and financial crisis and they seem to be fascinated by the idea to play off the European against the Asian shipbuilders.

Corrado Antonini once again stressed the fact that a cruise ship is a product in which hundreds of craftsmen and companies come together to assemble the final product. He continued: “from the ship builders point of view, cruise ships are a niche market, in which the key word is “customisation” compared with the mass market of the Asian yards.

He pointed out the enormous risk that a prolonged break in the flow of work might prompt some of those suppliers to abandon the cruise ship sector for other areas, or disappear completely - the silent exodus. An other serious issue is that a continuing drought in orders for new cruise ships will lead to a move-out of highly skilled experts from the European shipbuilding industry.

Pierfrancesco Vago from MSC Cruises, who was ardently advocating the cruise companies’ standpoint, said: “Let’s face it, shipbuilders are just assemblers. They will have to offer lower prices, but to do that they need to start negotiating with their subcontractors”.

This is in sharp contrast to Antonini’s point of view, who prefers a continuation of the close cooperation of ship owners, shipyards and equipment industry which in fact was the secret behind the unique success of the European cruise ship industry. This was the “Art of Shipbuilding” as Richard Sasso had put it so accurately in Miami.

Almost everything what Antonini had predicted during SMM in September 2008 had become true. The speculation driven ”overordering” in the commercial shipbuilding, the gap between demand and supply (overcapacities), the continued deficiencies in the protection of the intellectual properties of European enterprises, the lack of a skilled workforce and the fading away of new-building orders with all the consequences.

David Dingle, Carnival UK
Chris Ashcroft, Ashcroft & Associates
Corrado Antonini, Fincantieri


Session 2: Cruise Line Forum

Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean Cruises
Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio de Cluniere di Balsorano, Silversea Cruises
John Richardson, FIPRA
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Crociere
Maria Pittordis, Hill Dickinson
Giovanni Onorato, Costa Crociere

Corrado Antonini, Fincantieri
Bill Gibbons, Passenger Shipping Association
David Dingle, Carnival UK

Navy Delegation

Giovanni Onorato, Costa Crociere
David Dingle, Carnival UK

Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Crociere
Ruth Marshall, Royal Caribbean Cruises

Giovanni Onorato, Costa Crociere
Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean Cruises
John Richardson, FIPRA

Jochen Deerberg, Deerberg - Systems
Carl-Henrik Björk, Wärtsilä Italia
Maurizio Cergol, Fincantieri

Palazzo Colonna Terrace


Session 3: The Environment

Tim Marking, ECC Secretary
Tom Strang, Carnival Corporation
Jamie Sweeting, Royal Caribbean Cruises
Thomas Weigend, Meyer Werft


Session 4: Tourist Facilities in Ports

Paolo Costa, Port of Venice
Patrick Verhoeven, ESPO
Paul F. Nemitz, DG MARE
John Tercek, Royal Caribbean Cruises


Closing statement

David Dingle, Carnival UK
Chris Ashcroft, Ashcroft & Associates
Joe Borg, Commissioner DG MARE

David Dingle, Carnival UK
Joe Borg, Commissioner Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

David Dingle, chairman of the ECC European Cruise Council and chief executive officer of Carnival UK summarized the findings of the European Cruise Impact Study as follows:

“Despite the present economic challenges the cruise industry continues to play a major role in the economy of Europe. The total value of goods and services generated has increased by 69 percent in the last three years to more than EUR 32 billion. Europe has acted as a magnet, drawing cruise ships from North America, which together with European fleets has led to a significant increase in the number of passengers joining their cruise from a European port - a 68 percent increase since 2005 to 4.7 million passengers.

The number of cruise ships operating in Europe rose to 192 in 2008, the average number of calls was four ports on a given itinerary, while Italy and Greece are competing in popularity of destinations.

Europe is world leader in building cruise ships – in 2008, the industry has spent EUR 5.2 billion on construction, repair and maintenance of cruise ships.

David Dingle’s speech was a passionate plea for liberalised “cruisism” with Commissioner Joe Borg at least listening very carefully.


Plenary Session


Joe Borg, Commissioner Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, European Parliament
Antonio Tajani, Commissioner Transport and Energy
Altero Matteoli, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport
Jose Manuel Barroso, President European Commission

Alexandr Vondra, CZ Presidency


Workshop 12: Maritime prosperity in challenging times

Representation of the European Commission in Rome

Alfons Guinier, ECSA
Patrick Verhoeven, ESPO
Willem Laros, Waterborne
John Richardson, FIPRA
Allan Graveson, ETF
Patrick O’Riordan, DG ENTER
Reinhard Lüken, CESA
W.M.van Gulpen, EMEC


European Maritime Day 2009 Reception

Palazzo Colonna Garden

David Dingle, Carnival UK

Chris Ashcroft, Ashcroft & Associates
Eddy Hartog, DG Mare



Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Panel discussion

Contribution of Maritime Clusters to Competitiveness and Regional Development

Sala Grande Galleria of the Palazzo Colonna

This panel discussion was chaired by Niko Wijnolst , probably the most knowledgeable expert in maritime clusters with key note speeches delivered by Guenther Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry and Luc van den Brande, President of the Committee of the Regions.

The most anticipated speech from the equipment industry’s point of view - no doubt - was delivered by the Vice-President of the Commission, Guenther Verheugen. The audience was closely listening to the standard issues of the industry’s concerns like the missing plain level playing field, in other words OECD (is it operational at all?) China and Korea , the protection - or better - the not existing protection of Europe’s intellectual property, state aid which is so indiscriminately distributed by the Member States, short term financing, not to forget the cluster initiatives, which might become a “life vest“ for the survival of Europe’s mature manufacturing industry.

Although the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry committed himself to the creation of the necessary framework conditions to help industries to compete in a time of unprecedented economic turmoil, Verheugen left the audience in a well justified doubt about his seriousness when he clearly stated that as long as he remains in office, he will not present a plan for the restructuring of Europe’s ailing economy or raise a single euro.

Not a single word on the contributory fault of the world’s elite to the economic disaster, not a single word on the massive negligence of the lawmakers in the Commission and the Member States, not a single word on the misguidance by neo-liberal schools of thoughts (academia) in the US and Europe, not a single word on the restructuring of the monetary and banking system (a second Bretton Woods), not a single word on the re-establishment of private entrepreneurship – those who really bear the responsibility - as the number one driving force in the economy and a reduction of the inappropriate and disproportionate influence of managers, banks, lawyers, trustees and consultants, not a single word on stopping „cooking the books“, not a single word on the best practice of the “real economy“ of family owned industries with a long term planning, not a single word on creating a minimum code of ethics that will govern the post crisis economy.

Not a single word on Lisbon or Maastricht. Both agendas apparently are no longer in existence.

There are well justified reasons to ask all these questions in the light of a reduction of orders in the shipbuilding industry close to 97(!) percent in the first quarter of 2009 versus 2008 compared to the automotive industry (25 percent) which receives billions of dollars on state aids, a discrimination which in fact is hard to understand!

All the more astonishing, the only clear message was the strict anti-protectionist and anti state aid attitude of the Commission. But how will you avoid protectionism if you allow 27 Member States to develop their individual, uncoordinated measures to fight the crisis in general and secure jobs at home in particular? Protectionist moves cannot be stopped amid a serious economic crisis and the same applies for trends toward disintegration!

Suffering from summer temperatures in the Sala Grande Galleria – both the Commissioner and the audience were left with the impression that the European Commission usually so well served by an army of consultants was designed for fine weather sailing and has absolutely no plan how to ride out this severe storm, if not a tsunami.

The resumee is quite simple – the mature European manufacturing industry is left on its own in an extremely harsh environment with a “Guide on good practices and principles on restructuring, bankruptcy and a fresh start“ ironically enough edited in 2002 (!) by Erkki Liikanen, Guenther Verheugen’s predecessor, high priest of “laissez faire“ liberalism and protagonist of the IT lead service society, in the wake of the e-bubble’s burst.

Europe’s politicians, economists and lawmakers would be well advised if they were following the principles of legislation in the worldwide shipping community which are based on “lessons learned“.

Luc van den Brande’s speech offered a limited possibility to seek shelter from the consequences of globalisation in Europe’s regions.

Luc van den Brande, European Network of Maritime Clusters
Guenther Verheugen, Commissioner Enterprise and Industry
Niko Wijnolst, European Network of Maritime Clusters

Guenther Verheugen, Commissioner Enterprise and Industry

Luc van den Branden, European Network of Maritime Clusters

Corrado Antonini, Fincantieri
Rikke Lind, Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry
Patrice Lefeu, Green Atlantic for Sustainable Development Project
Niko Wijnolst, European Network of Maritime Clusters
Jean-Yves Perrot, IFREMER
W. M. van Gulpen, EMEC
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Region of Brittany
Arturo Gonzalez Romero, Spanish Maritime Cluster

Jean-Yves Perrot, IFREMER
W.M. van Gulpen, EMEC
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Region of Brittany