"The sea can be a key element in relaunching the European project. The blue economy, in the diversity of its sectors, is an incredible source for the creation of jobs. Moreover, the European sea shores are the foundation of our biodiversity and play a central role in the fight against climate change. Time has come for Europe to set itself a new ambitious goal in the maritime sector", stressed today Christophe Clergeau, Member of the Pays-de-la-Loire Regional Council (PES/France).
His draft opinion on a New stage in the European policy on blue growth received unanimous support by members of the CoR's commission for Natural Resources.
The draft opinion builds on the momentum of the Maltese Presidency of the Council, which sets maritime policy as one of its priorities and proposes ambitious steps for an integrated European maritime policy,taking into account economic, social and environmental factors.
Key requests of the PES rapporteur include:
- 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 dedicated 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;
- a citizens-based strategy, which would foster a common awareness for maritime issues.
The opinion was warmly welcomed by Isabelle Thomas MEP (S&D/France) who underlined the need to closely involve cities and regions in the process.