Malta, Cyprus and Greece – A trio of European flags that aim to present a common front on shipping policies


Late last year, the fourth tripartite meeting on maritime affairs between Malta, Cyprus and Greece took place. Malta, Cyprus and Greece have been scheduling these meetings since 2014 when the trio agreed to plan regular get-togethers with the goal of forging common positions on shipping industry issues.

The meeting took place in Malta’s capital and the focus of the gathering was on maintaining the competitiveness of the European shipping industries as well as retaining a sustainable economic sector.  Malta, Cyprus and Greece have all showed determination to contribute to the further development of the European shipping industry.

The respective ministers discussed a number of sought-after maritime topics such as environment protection, greenhouse gas emissions, the social dimension of shipping and the Southern European flag state ministers pledged to step-up coordination between themselves not only within the European Union but also at International Maritime Organisation level as well.

Malta, Cyprus and Greece occupy the top three spots amongst European Union flag states in terms of size of fleet and tonnage, however the trio of countries have sometimes felt estranged from the Brussels policy makers whose focus is greatly on internal market competition rules.

The ministers have agreed that continued European success in the shipping sector is by maintaining and enhancing the maritime industry’s competitiveness and creating a favourable climate for maritime business, which may only be achieved by having flexible policies, rules and arrangements.

Having the three European countries, who have a large stake within the industry, co-ordinating together on these maritime issues will increase their bargaining power at various forums both on a European and international level.

Malta, Cyprus and Greece aim at keeping their quality shipping standards high, and thus such relationship between the top three countries in the European shipping sector will ensure better co-ordination and implementation of shipping policies.