Danish ports are interested in the EU elections. The leading candidates are interested in ports. Read about Danish Ports' and politicians' key issues for ports EU needs to be more ambitious in its ports policy On Sunday there are elections to the European Parliament. 90% of the legislation in the transport sector is based on European legislation. 80% of Danish foreign trade passes through Danish ports. It is mainly goods coming from other EU countries. Efficient and cheap logistics is an important prerequisite for the Single Market to be realized at all. But the European market and European trade are also crucial for the development of the ports. Ports must have a reasonable and transparent framework for developing their business. Danish Ports is working to ensure that the EU becomes more ambitious in its policy for ports:
- A port is more than transportation. It is a business hub for industry and services. The EU must recognize ports as modern and versatile businesses.
- Illegal state aid is unacceptable competition. But aid comes in many guises. The EU must act.
- There must be no internal distortions of competition in the EU. Southern European ports and railways receive huge subsidies from the EU. The EU must ensure that it does not remove the basis for northern European ports.
- Reduce barriers and especially bureaucratic requirements. Facilitate short sea shipping and create a single maritime market. The EU talks about it, but not enough is happening.
Such goals cannot be achieved without active parliamentarians. Anne E. Jensen has worked tirelessly for the transport industry for 10 years. Now vice-chair of the Danish Ports Association, Anne has a few words of advice to pass on before the baton is passed on to the 13 MEPs we will elect on Sunday. The candidates will of course also be given the floor and the opportunity to present their priorities. A very good election to all on Sunday. Desires in the port area Source: Europa.eu - Newsroom Danish Ports has accepted the offer to provide input to the Ministry of Transport on how the organization proposes Danish priorities on the EU transport agenda. These are concrete initiatives that Danish Ports would like to see in the upcoming Commission's legislative program. Danish Ports' five priorities are:
- Extending the Single Market - maritime transport without barriers
- Continuing to seek areas for blue growth
- An evaluation of maritime security rules for ports and facilities
- Earmarking of regional infrastructure funds
- Guidelines on State aid for ports
Read the full proposal from Danish Ports Anne E. Jensen: The EU makes a difference Anne E. Jensen retires after 15 years in the European Parliament. Throughout the years, Anne E. Jensen has been the ports' most important link in the Parliament and one of the few Danish MEPs to have sat on the Committee on Transport and Tourism. Always ready to receive and give good advice. Always ready to bind the parties together. We saw the latter most recently in connection with the hosting of the Baltic Ports Organization's annual lunch with representatives from Parliament, Commission and ports. On 3 April, the General Assembly of Danish Ports elected Anne E. Jensen as the new Vice President of the organization. Although there have been many negotiations and many results, can you point out one area where Danish ports particularly benefit from the fact that there are parliamentarians who are also interested in port issues? There are many areas, for example the whole framework for environmental regulation, security against terrorism, liberalization of port services and TEN-T infrastructure investments. If you were to give ports one piece of advice, what should they be particularly interested in during the next term of the European Parliament? Ports must have an international outlook. Competitors may be in Sweden, Germany or Poland, but so can partners. You have been to many ports. Which port have you visited most recently? I think the last port I visited was Esbjerg. I have been busy with the budget in recent years, but otherwise I have visited many major ports in the EU, such as Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp, ports in Southern Europe and around the Baltic Sea. Candidates have the floor Source: Social Democratic Party Jeppe Kofod, lead candidate for the Social Democratic Party: What opportunities do you see for Danish ports and a strong transport sector in Europe? I am very interested in the area of transport policy, and especially in how we improve the conditions for public transport so that we can have more and better green transport. I believe we need to increase investment in the transport sector so that we can connect Europe in a sustainable way. This is both about better and faster trains and ferries that bring both people and goods faster, and about lowering prices so that public transport becomes competitive. The funds for the increased support can be taken from the large agricultural subsidies. Do you have a priority you will fight for in the Parliament that could have a particular impact on manufacturers choosing to set up in Denmark and not just use us as a transit country? I want to work to create the best framework conditions for Danish companies, and it must always be attractive to establish a business in Denmark. One of the sectors where we have a unique opportunity to create new jobs today is in green industry. The Social Democrats believe that there is a need to increase the EU's climate targets. We are very good at green energy in Denmark, and it means a lot for our economy. In 2012, Denmark exported green environmental technology worth DKK 32.5 billion. This makes Denmark the EU country with the highest growth in the green technology sector from 2002 to 2012. Exports increased from DKK 6.9 billion to DKK 32.5 billion. Therefore, I believe that this is a sector that we must give high priority. Transport is an important part of the Single Market, allowing goods to move between countries How will you work to ensure that Denmark and Danish ports are not left behind by Europe? It is important for Denmark and Danish companies that we are closely connected to the rest of Europe. Due to our location in Europe and our long coastline, it is particularly important that ferry transport has proper conditions. And here the Danish ports play a major role. The ports in Northern Europe must continue to be competitive, and I believe that this can be promoted, among other things, through EU funding. Source: Photographer Roben Skjoldborg Bendt Bendtsen, lead candidate for the Conservative People's Party: What opportunities do you see for Danish ports and a strong transport sector in Europe? As an old and proud maritime nation, Denmark has already built up a position of strength, and the ports are a very important part of this. To strengthen our position, it is important to bring the ports even more into play - not only as a port of call for ships, but also as a business hub for new activities such as wind turbine production and services and support functions in relation to transport and production. Do you have a priority you will fight for in the Parliament that could have a particular impact on manufacturers choosing to set up in Denmark and not just use us as a transit country? First and foremost, we must ensure that our basic framework conditions are in order. In Denmark, we must keep taxes and costs down, but I can work through the European Parliament to ensure that our common policies are geared in a direction that benefits businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. This means, for example, fighting administrative red tape and alleviating problems with access to finance. Transport is an important part of the Single Market, allowing goods to move between countries How will you work to ensure that Denmark and Danish ports are not left behind by Europe? We must develop the Danish traffic infrastructure so that it works better together and makes Denmark a more attractive place to locate - this will also benefit the ports. But it is also necessary to fight for a level playing field within the EU, and this means ending unfair competition and state aid to ports abroad. Source: Danish Parliament Ulla Tørnæs, lead candidate for the Liberal Party: What opportunities do you see for Danish ports and a strong transport sector in Europe? European ports are not just transit centers, but business centers where industry, business and service companies are located. In Denmark, we have liberalized the Port Act, which provides opportunities for Danish ports to develop into real business centers, which has been very positive, especially outside Denmark's largest cities. This is a very positive development. The port sector is an international industry. Therefore, it is crucial that we ensure uniform and fair implementation of EU legislation throughout the EU. In Denmark, we have a tradition of being an "EU dove" that implements EU rules far more restrictively than other EU countries. One example is the terrorist protection of Danish ports. In Denmark, ports must be secured against all forms of criminal activity, while in the Netherlands, for example, ports are only secured in relation to the specific terrorist threat to the port. This means that Danish ports must invest more in equipment to protect against terrorism than, for example, Dutch ports. This in turn means that Danish ports lose competitiveness and Denmark loses jobs. In the European Parliament, I will work to ensure that we in the EU have concrete tools to ensure uniform implementation of EU rules throughout the EU. A level playing field is the prerequisite for a strong Danish port sector and a strong transport industry in Europe. Do you have a priority you will fight for in the Parliament that could have a particular impact on manufacturers choosing to set up in Denmark and not just use us as a transit country? I will work to ensure that the European Parliament sets a strong growth agenda. This is about the EU completing the single market in services, the digital single market and the single market for energy. And it is about free trade agreements, cutting red tape and bureaucracy and concluding free trade agreements with other major economies. If we are to create growth and new jobs in Denmark, it is very much about ensuring that Danish and European companies have a level playing field. Some things we can address in the European Parliament, such as ensuring uniform implementation of EU rules throughout the EU, and other aspects of competitiveness, such as the very high Danish energy taxes that today send jobs abroad, we must address in the Danish Parliament. I am therefore pleased that the Liberal Party in the Danish Parliament as well as in the European Parliament is working determinedly to ensure new growth and create new jobs in Denmark. If we are to pull Denmark out of the shadows of the international financial crisis, our growth initiatives in Denmark and in the EU must go hand in hand. Transport is an important part of the Single Market, allowing goods to move between countries How will you work to ensure that Denmark and Danish ports are not left behind by Europe? For me, ensuring that Denmark and Danish ports can compete in the EU is about ensuring equal conditions of competition throughout the EU. It is about uniform implementation of EU rules and about combating indirect and illegal state aid. The EU is built on a foundation of breaking down barriers in trade between EU countries, and therefore it is also completely unacceptable that certain EU countries provide illegal and indirect support to their ports and other industries. This is where we in the EU must take action and combat all forms of illegal and indirect state aid. This applies to the port sector, agriculture and other industries. Source: Liberal Alliance Christina Egelund, lead candidate for Liberal Alliance: What opportunities do you see for Danish ports and a strong transport sector in Europe? Liberal Alliance goes to the parliamentary elections with a desire to slim down the EU's areas of competence and bring the Union back to Community level. In our view, the EU should focus on what it was intended to do, namely to create the framework for a well-functioning internal market with trade at the forefront. Everything else is far better left to the nation states. In its cross-border activities, a strong transport sector and well thought-out port cooperation are of course very crucial in this respect. We see great opportunities from the path that Danish ports are already following, namely to think of ports as more than just "loading and unloading areas". Do you have a priority you will fight for in the Parliament that could have a particular impact on manufacturers choosing to set up in Denmark and not just use us as a transit country? Overall, it is a national task to ensure attractive production conditions for businesses. Unfortunately, Denmark leaves much to be desired here - especially because of the high level of duties and taxes. Most people are familiar with the Liberal Alliance's position in this area, and I naturally - also as a business owner - support the Liberal Alliance's fight for better business conditions in the form of, among other things, a halving of the corporate tax rate and an end to unnecessary bureaucracy. Having said that, the EU Parliament is of course involved in creating the framework for production in the individual countries. One of my key concerns is to ensure the best possible conditions for free trade. This includes equal conditions between countries, which I believe are not present today. Here I am thinking in particular of the regional subsidy schemes that distort the EU - and which often favor the southern and eastern European countries to a completely unacceptable and competition-distorting degree. These must, to the best of my conviction, be done away with. Transport is an important part of the Single Market, allowing goods to move between countries How will you work to ensure that Denmark and Danish ports are not left behind by Europe? I am firmly convinced that the initiatives the Commission has "launched" concerning, among other things, the facilitation of customs clearance for ships are a very important track to follow. It is obvious that unnecessary bureaucracy and consequent delays are hampering the competitiveness of the sector. The administrative burdens in the ports, which short sea shipping in particular suffers from, must be minimized and here I believe that Denmark - as a maritime nation - should take the lead in the fight to improve the conditions of the maritime sector so that it competes on equal terms with other forms of transport. Source: Danish People's Party Morten Messerschmidt, lead candidate for the Danish People's Party: What opportunities do you see for Danish ports and a strong transport sector in Europe? I am convinced that the Danish ports will do well in open and free competition. And with that, I have almost answered question no. 2. There is great growth potential in the Danish ports, and therefore we must from a political point of view - in the Danish Parliament as well as in the EU - ensure that the ports are given better opportunities for business development with several different types of business, so that the ports to an even greater extent will function as business centers. This will not least benefit the peripheral areas, which we in the Danish People's Party prioritize highly. Do you have a priority you will fight for in the Parliament that could have a particular impact on manufacturers choosing to set up in Denmark and not just use us as a transit country? Once again, I would like to point out the importance of ensuring equal conditions of competition and economic transparency. I am convinced that if the Danish ports - and the Danish business community in general - are given proper framework conditions that do not put companies at a disadvantage compared to companies in other EU countries, the Danish ports will manage. Of course, we can also do a lot from the Danish side at home by ensuring that we ourselves do not give Danish ports worse conditions than in other EU countries. One way of doing this is to ensure that we do not over-implement EU legislation. Transport is an important part of the Single Market, so that goods can move between countries How will you work to ensure that Denmark and Danish ports are not left behind by Europe? At the risk of repeating myself, I would again point to the importance of a level playing field. Of course, this also means increased focus on transparency and uniform rules in relation to state aid. I and my newly elected colleagues from the Danish People's Party (DF) in the European Parliament will of course work for this. It goes without saying that the infrastructure to and from ports is of great importance, and I am also pleased that the DF is part of the Port Packages that have contributed to ensuring infrastructural improvements. At EU level, it is also incredibly important that Denmark has been successful in securing EU funding for a number of the major infrastructure projects that are being implemented in recent years.