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IP/11/577

Brussels, 17 May 2011

A European Maritime Day that Puts People First

Every year on May 20, European Maritime Day is celebrated across the European Union to showcase the importance of the sea and oceans for our everyday life. This year, Gdańsk (Poland) will host the 4th edition of the European Maritime Day Conference on 19-20 May. Around 1,000 participants are expected. Maritime Day has become the main European event where stakeholders from a large range of maritime sectors meet and discuss the opportunities and challenges currently facing maritime regions and sectors across Europe: from tourism and fisheries to maritime transport and climate change. European Commissioners Maria Damanaki, Siim Kallas and Janusz Lewandowski will join Polish and European ministers and personalities at the Conference, on 19 May. On 20 May a number of maritime stakeholder events, workshops and exhibitions will take place.

"Putting People First"

The title of this year's European Maritime Day is "Putting People First" – because the conference is centred on the many benefits that an integrated approach to Maritime Policy brings to European citizens.

The Conference will take stock of the different initiatives which are already underway. For instance, a more stable and transparent maritime planning system provides legal certainty for investors and improves the economic climate; closer international cooperation on surveillance improves border control as well as search and rescue operations; easier access to marine data enables European researchers to create innovative new products and services; and a healthier marine environment means we are all better off.

"Putting People First" also includes a specific focus on the ways maritime sectors can bring more jobs. Panels will discuss how to make maritime careers more appealing to young people, and how to promote mobility between jobs and sectors.

The Conference will also review the Baltic Sea Strategy with all key stakeholders. This Strategy is a genuine success story in the regional approach: by interconnecting the players of a dozen countries and countless sectors, it has imparted unprecedented dynamism to the region and given rise to some 80 projects, ranging from transport to education.

Two-day event

On May 19, the conference opening session will feature personalities including Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, Cezary Grabarczyk, Polish Minister for Infrastructure, Pál Völner, Hungarian Minister of State for Infrastructure, Commissioner Maria Damanaki, Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation, Mieczysław Struk, President of Pomorskie Voivodship and Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk.

Key note speeches will be delivered by Maria Damanaki, Member of the European Commission responsible for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Mobility and Transport, and Janusz Lewandowski, Member of the European Commission responsible for Financial Programming and Budget.

On May 20, Maritime Stakeholder Day will showcase a wide range of policy initiatives that relate to the sea. The benefits of Maritime Spatial Planning for the sustainable use of sea space will be discussed in various workshops. Stakeholders will exchange views on the Commission's e-Maritime initiative (Directorate-General for Transport) to enhance berth-to-berth navigation and services in Europe. The Baltic Sea stakeholders will discuss means to improve the Baltic's marine environment by reducing the eutrophication due to ship waste, identifying vulnerable habitats and providing examples of good governance in the basin.

The conference is organised by the European Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Government of Poland, the Pomerania Region and the City of Gdańsk.

Numerous events are planned in Gdansk around the conference, such as a conference on maritime employment and presentations of regional fish and seafood cuisine. Other workshops and awareness-raising initiatives by stakeholders will take place all over Europe.

Background

European Maritime Day, officially proclaimed in a tripartite declaration by the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on 20 May 2008, aims to raise the visibility of Maritime Europe. The previous editions of European Maritime Day were held in Brussels (2008), Rome (2009) and Gijon (2010) respectively.

European Maritime Day was created as part of the 2007 EU Integrated Maritime Policy, which aims to highlight the interconnections between the various policies affecting the seas and oceans and promotes the sustainable growth of maritime sectors and regions.

For all details on the conference and the complete programme, please visit:

http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeday


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