A sensationalised headline in the United Kingdom Sunday Mail today purports to have uncovered a plan by the EU to `scupper’ the UK Coastguard. However the truth is somewhat more prosaic.
The EU has for several years now been developing a coordinated approach with a view to establishing an integrated maritime policy and the latest moves are a further step down that road.
The Celtic League certainly welcome these moves having called for the establishment of a European Coastguard Agency over a decade ago.
At the AGM of the Celtic League held in Mann in 2000 a resolution to this effect was adopted (see text below):
“The AGM of the Celtic League: Recalling concerns of previous AGMs of the Celtic League about the risks posed to the Celtic coastlines by oil tanker spillage and being aware of the devastating impact of the most recent Erika spillage off Brittany, calls for the establishment of a European Marine Environment & Coastguard Agency”.
At the 2002 AGM the intent of the earlier resolution was reiterated and in November of that year the League wrote to the President of the European Commission (Romano Prodi) and urged support for the initiative (see link):
Subsequently in October 2007 the Commission made the first tentative moves on the issue when it:
“adopted the Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union –COM(2007) 575 (“Blue Paper”). This Communication advocated the need for the development and implementation of an integrated, coherent and overarching approach to the governance of the oceans, seas and coasts.”
The latest proposal moves the issue forward (see link):
As indicated the Celtic League wholeheartedly support these further steps to enhance both maritime safety and the security of the marine environment.
It is particularly gratifying that these moves bring the policy we adopted closer to fruition and are a vindication of our organisations perseverance on this issue.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information