On 20 & 21 May the virtual European Maritime Day (EMD) conference is broadcasted from this year’s host city, Den Helder in the Netherlands. The focus of exchanges, attracting more than 2,400 ocean stakeholders, is the contribution of a sustainable blue economy to post-covid recovery and the European Green Deal.
“A sustainable blue economy is essential to achieve the Green Deal’s objectives: it promotes ocean conservation whilst generating wealth and jobs through solutions based on the sustainable use of marine resources. No green without blue” said Commissioner Sinkevicius presenting the Commission’s recent Communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU adopted on 17 May 2021.
The Communication identifies desirable transformations in the different sectors of the Blue economy and sets directions for intensified efforts, mobilizing all available policies and instruments. The new initiative complements other important initiatives of the Commission - such as the smart mobility strategy, the zero pollution action plan, the offshore strategy or the plastics strategy.
The Commissioner also announced that the EU will work and in hand with the EU’s coastal states and regions to achieve the EU’s aim of protecting 30% of the EU sea area by 2030 and to realise its Zero Pollution targets. In this context, he called for an investment drive for biodiversity, zero pollution and for decarbonising the blue economy. He expressed the hope that Member States and regions would specifically earmark EU Structural Funds for this objective.
High-level speakers at the EMD opening session underlined the importance of the EU’s energy transition and the importance of offshore wind, maritime spatial planning, the role of regions, marine biodiversity and the need to reduce pressures of the ocean and to recognize the limits to economic growth.
Another focus of EMD was ocean literacy and outreach to EU citizens, with Commissioner Sinkevicius visiting the Elementary School Dr. Jac P. Thijsse in Den Helder, the first school to receive a “European Blue School” certificate, and the launch of the new ocean literacy advocacy campaign, #MakeEUBlue.
- 20 Mai 2021