Brussels, 15 May 2009
The sea has always played a key role in Europe's prosperity. Our continent has almost 70 000 km of coastline and 22 of the EU’s 27 Member States are coastal or island countries. Our maritime regions are home to 40% of our population, generate 40% of our economy and employ some 5 million people. For all these reasons, 20 May is a dedicated "European Maritime Day" in the EU. This year, in cooperation with the Italian government, the Commission is organising a 3-day conference in Rome from 18 to 20 May. This important event brings together stakeholders, administrations and other players from the European Union and this time also from a number of third countries, in particular from the Mediterranean region, to discuss the global challenges faced by maritime Europe today. European Maritime Day was set up as one of the key actions of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, launched in 2007.
"On 20 May, we celebrate the annual European Maritime Day in Rome", Commission President José Manuel Barroso said. "European citizens are increasingly aware of the importance of our common maritime heritage and future. Our Integrated Maritime Policy reflects a clear vision of how to address the challenges of maritime prosperity, sustainability and security and is intimately tied to the fight against climate change and to recovering the economic competitiveness of Europe."
According to Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, "The EU's Integrated Maritime Policy puts maritime sectors and coastal regions, traditionally at the periphery, at the centre of a new, dynamic and inclusive policy for sustainable growth and jobs. The EU and its Member States are convinced that specificities of oceans, seas and coasts need to be addressed in a coordinated and coherent manner. In Rome, institutions and stakeholders will debate new approaches to managing our oceans, seas and coastal regions sustainably under the umbrella of one all-embracing integrated policy strategy."
The Maritime Day stakeholders’ conference in Rome will bring together stakeholders from business and civil society, decision-makers and journalists from across the EU and beyond, to discuss a wide range of policies and practices, such as integrated maritime governance, emerging technologies, energy generation, planning of the maritime space, surveillance systems for the seas, sustainable coastal tourism, the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and others. The views raised at the conference will feed into the future development of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy.
Also in Rome, before and after the conference, stakeholder organisations will be holding a number of workshops and presentations on themes linked to the conference agenda. In addition to the central conference in Rome, around 40 events will be held in Member States across the European Union. These local events vary from conferences or workshops to open days at ports and environmental projects.
The programme of the Rome conference includes keynote speeches by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Czech Presidency of the European Union, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and the Vice-President of the European Parliament Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou. The two hosts of the conference are the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg, and the Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Altero Matteoli. The European Commission will be further represented by its Vice-President in charge of enterprise policy and industry, Günter Verheugen, and its Vice-President in charge of transport, Antonio Tajani. Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, will also address the conference. A series of panel discussions will take stock of the achievements of the Integrated Maritime Policy since its launch and debate the further way ahead.
Following the European Commission’s proposal for an Integrated Maritime Policy in October 2007 and its subsequent endorsement by Heads of State and Government in December 2007, tangible progress has been made towards building a coherent framework to promote synergies and resolve potential conflicts between different sea-related policy areas. In line with the Action Plan published in October 2007, the Commission has already come forward with a package of proposals to, for example, boost maritime research and develop EU ports, promote maritime spatial planning and a maritime transport space without barriers, and boost offshore wind energy production. Other proposals have identified strategies to adapt to climate change, provide support to sea and maritime transport workers, or lay out approaches for an integrated maritime governance. In the fisheries sector, the Commission has put forward new legislation to combat illegal fishing, to improve control and enforcement and it has also launched an EU-wide consultation exercise on a fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Maritime Day :
Stakeholder side events in Rome:
Stakeholder events in Member states:
Tripartite Declaration May 2008: