As the European socio-political crisis deepens and the middle-class is depleting, citizens and young politicians all over the continent are demonising people, issues and situations for real or even imaginary, big or small transgressions.
One of the situations that will sooner or later come under the microscope of public anger is the apparently “privileged relationship” of certain quarters of the European Commission with the ocean-going shipping industry.
During the years, special relations between the Commission services and shipowner associations and individual shipping magnates have developed. This practice has led to special habits, rather favorable to shipowners and consequently not fair to the rest of us.
For the third consecutive five-year term, the Directorate General for Transport maintains in the same sensitive post of Director of Maritime, the person that the representatives of the London based shipping community (mostly Greeks and Cypriots), have publicly requested. This is unacceptable and may become shameful if the good Director is promoted to Director General in the same Directorate General!
The European Commission has excluded the maritime industry from the payment of any carbon dioxide tax until the year 2050! The less intelligent, trucks, cars, aircrafts and land-based factories they are already regulated and pay for the pollution they create.
When a land-based factory pollutes for any reason, it pays for damages until the last cent, as insurance obligation is unlimited. According to the International Maritime Organisation Convention the pollution limit per accident used to be half a billion Euro but under public pressure, it was doubled. Yet it is a technical lie, as the IMO has not means to enforce it and the European Commission, which has the enforcement means, does not transpose (since 2003) the new Convention in to Community law, despite the sad experience of ecological disasters of Erika in France and Prestige in Spain. In this way, shipowners, thanks to their good contacts in the Commission, pay significantly less insurance premiums and every body is happy. Nice arrangement! We look with great interest at this “privileged relationship” as we cannot explain why the President of the European Commission Jose Barroso himself, who dismissed an honest Commissioner based on “circumstantial” evidence (which later proved false), sees no “circumstantial evidence,” in this “privileged relationship,” which concerns billions of losses for the Community budget and, most importantly, the loss of faith of half a billion citizens in “project Europe,” on this path the European Union is heading to collapse.