Toxic Trade News / 25 October 2006
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Maltese proposals on the Basel convention regarding ship dismantling
by Malta Independent Online (Malta)
25 October 2006 – During Monday’s EU Council of Environment Ministers’ debate on the Basel Convention with specific reference to ship dismantling, Malta proposed that developments in EU actions regarding ship dismantling must be accompanied by developments in international legislation through the International Maritime Organisation, the Department of Information said.

Malta emphasised that the new legally binding instrument on ship recycling, as agreed by all IMO states including all 25 EU member states, should be developed further. This position would ensure a level playing field between the EU and third countries in the regulation of ship dismantling. Malta thus presented an amendment in this sense.

Rural Affairs and Environment Minister George Pullicino said, “Malta holds that the most appropriate way of addressing these issues is through the new instrument currently being discussed at the International Maritime Organisation. Such an instrument shall provide legally binding and globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for ship recycling facilities.

“Malta considers that this is crucial to ensure a level playing field between EU member states and third countries. Otherwise, we would be running the risk of losing our shipping registers to countries which are not within the European Union. The latter would happen without any tangible gain for the environment.”

Some EU member states emphasised the international dimension and expressed sympathy towards Malta’s proposed amendment. However, the Presidency refused to include Malta’s amendment in the text. At that stage, Malta regrettably had no option other than to oppose the adoption of EU Council Conclusions.

After the Finnish Presidency closed the debate with no consensus having been reached, other member states appealed to the Presidency to consider Malta’s amendments. However in spite of this and other informal indications of support, the Presidency failed to acknowledge the fact that no member state objected to Malta’s proposed amendments and did not accept to re-open the discussion.

Malta regretted that a valuable opportunity to achieve a unified EU position on the matter was lost, the statement concluded.

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