CoR members gave today unanimous support to the draft opinion on a 'New stage in the European policy on blue growth', by Christophe Clergeau, Member of the Pays-de-la-Loire Regional Council (PES/France).
"The sea can be a key element in mobilising our citizens and relaunching the European project. The blue economy, in the diversity of its sectors, is an incredible source for the creation of jobs. The European sea shores are the foundation of our biodiversity and play a central role in the fight against climate change and in the promotion of renewable energies. Time has come for Europe to set itself a new ambitious goal in the maritime sector", underlined Clergeau.
His draft opinion – which was warmly welcomed at an "Informal Ministerial Conference on Blue Growth and Ocean Governance in the EU" held on 20 April in Malta, proposes ambitious steps for an integrated European maritime policy, taking into account economic, social and environmental factors, and including:
- a White Paper on "The sea at the heart of Europe";
- better financial support for cities and regions and easier access to funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Cohesion Policy funds;
- reinforcing support for research, development and innovation, including a target of 10% of projects of the EU's Research Framework Programme to be allocated to marine and maritime research;
- strategic investments into key sectors of the blue economy, such as maritime industries and marine biotechnologies, as well as the need to move beyond the 27% by 2030 EU target on renewable energy production;
- the creation of a maritime Juncker Plan 2.0 and of a European resource centre on the blue economy;
- taking into account the Brexit impact on coastal areas;
- a citizens-based strategy, which would foster a common awareness for maritime issues.
The rapporteur will continue to follow-up on the subject with the European Parliament's rapporteur on the topic, Isabelle Thomas MEP (S&D/France).