Boosting blue growth in Adriatic and Ionian Seas
By Anne Eckstein | Monday 03 December 2012
Developing smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas is the aim of the new maritime strategy adopted by the European Commission on 3 December. It is built on four pillars: a stronger blue economy, a healthier marine environment, a safer maritime area and responsible fishing activities. The strategy will be implemented in 2013 by means of an action plan that will be developed jointly with stakeholders from the region. Croatia and the Commission will launch the strategy jointly at a conference, on 6 December in Zagreb
The new strategy is part of the Union’s Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), which already includes maritime strategies for the Baltic and Atlantic. It could be the starting point of a wider macro-regional strategy that the Adriatic and Ionian countries are willing to develop. It builds on the Commission’s ‘Blue growth’ initiative of 13 September 2012 - COM(2012)494 (see
Europolitics 4486) and on the ‘Limassol declaration’ on a marine and maritime agenda for growth and jobs, adopted by the 27 on 9 October (4553), aiming to make the sea a central focus of innovation, economic opportunities and prosperity for all the countries around it.
This new regional maritime strategy plays on the odds that with the European perspective of the Western Baltic countries, the movement of people, goods and services in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas is bound to increase. “Preserving the marine habitats and ensuring the sustainable development of the region will be challenging and it is a challenge that we need to prepare for,” said Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki. She put out a call for contributions from all stakeholders – at national, regional and local level – to define a detailed plan, with the Commission, for future actions.
While acknowledging the work already carried out by different organisations in the region, the new strategy underlines the need to step up cooperation. It will mobilise existing resources, structures and regulations to encourage cross-border partnerships and involve local, regional and national players. As the first initiative of its kind in the Mediterranean basin, the strategy will also help develop the sea basin’s blue economy by coordinating financing and delivery mechanisms, hopes the Commission.
A number of priority areas have been identified, including:
- the creation of maritime clusters and research networks and development of a research strategy to boost innovation
- enhancement of workforce skills and mobility, with greater transparency of qualifications
- optimisation of transport links through the development of an “integrated, demand-based, low-carbon” maritime transport network across the region, with special attention to island connectivity
- support for sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism, encouraging innovation and common marketing strategies and products
- the creation of new jobs and business opportunities in aquaculture through research and innovation
- the reduction of marine litter and improved waste management in coastal areas
- modernisation of fishing activities through better compliance and conservation, transfer of information and cooperation on enforcement and control.(1) Registration at www.amiando.com/AI-SeasConference-Zagreb.html