EC President to open international conference on new, integrated Maritime Policy –

EC President to open international conference on new, integrated Maritime Policy Published:  17 November, 2005

EUROPEAN Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, and Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs will take part in a one-day conference on the challenges and opportunities of an integrated Maritime Policy, today in Brussels.

Over 250 participants, including four ministers, will look at the issues at stake in an all-embracing EU maritime policy from the perspective of the Member States, maritime industry and non governmental organisations in economic, scientific, environmental and social terms. This is one of the first major international events organised in the run up to the publication, next spring, of a Green Paper designed to launch an extensive EU-wide debate on how best to optimise the synergies between sea-based activities and boost their economic and social potential while safeguarding the marine environment. Extensive involvement of stakeholders has been placed at the heart of this new policy as outlined in the Commission Communication entitled “Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and the sea”, tabled last March.

Outlining the need for an integrated maritime policy, President Barroso said : “I have created a portfolio on Maritime Policy in my Commission and I have asked Commissioner Borg to come forward with an integrated Maritime Policy. Ocean governance and the role of the oceans for mankind are crucial and our various sea-related policies should not conflict. We need to have greater co-operation, co-ordination and consistency. This is exactly what a Maritime Policy can deliver.”

In his address Commissioner Borg will underline the opportunities offered by a strong maritime policy. He said: “We want to ensure that a Maritime Policy puts in place a decision-making process that conciliates conflicting interests in marine and coastal areas so as to create a climate that encourages financial investments and the development of sustainable economic activities. Discussions such as those that will take place tomorrow enable us to make progress in this direction.”

A Maritime Policy would optimise the potential of the energy derived from the seas, Commissioner Piebalgs said. “Energy plays an important economic and social role in the maritime sector and therefore deserves specific attention”.

Under the leadership of President Barroso, attention is being focused on the potential of the seas and oceans for sustainable growth in the European Union. To tap this potential, the move towards a new integrated maritime policy has become one of the strategic objectives of the Commission for 2005-2009. The first step in this direction is the preparation of a Green Paper by a Task Force of Commissioners responsible for sectoral sea-related activities and chaired by Commissioner Borg as the launch pad for extensive consultations with stakeholders on a future Maritime Policy for the Union.

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