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European Commission - Press release

20 May: A European Maritime Day to celebrate our seas and oceans

Brussels, 16 May 2012 – The European Union celebrates European Maritime Day 2012 across events in Member States, on May 20, 2012. The main event will be the European Maritime Day Conference which this year will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 21-22 May, 2012, with almost 1,000 participants. Each year stakeholders from a large range of maritime sectors come to this event to discuss the opportunities and challenges currently facing maritime regions and sectors across Europe: from tourism and fisheries to maritime transport and climate change. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will join Swedish ministers and other European personalities at the Conference, on 21 May. On 22 May a number of maritime stakeholder events, workshops and exhibitions will take place.

The theme for this year's conference is: "Sustainable Growth from Oceans, Seas and Coasts: Blue Growth".' Blue growth' is the economic pillar of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy which is fully integrated into the Europe 2020 strategy. Its main target is the creation of growth and new jobs in the maritime economy. This target could be achieved through further sustainable development of maritime sectors of the European economy. Europe is the most developed maritime economy in comparison with all other continents. Thus, EU can harvest an important share of the potential of oceans, seas and coasts to the benefit of citizens and society as a whole.

Tree-day event

The starting point for European Maritime Day 2012 celebration is Sunday 20 May with a large maritime festival in Gothenburg. The river and quayside events will showcase the diversity in the sea: maritime research, threats to the sea environment, the effects of climate change, fishing, shipping, the development of harbours, marine national parks, maritime spatial planning, wind and wave energy, traditional ships and so on.

On May 21, the conference will host high-level key speakers: Ms Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ms Catharina Elmsäter–Svärd, Swedish Minister of Infrastructure, Ms Lena Ek, Minister of Environment, Mr Eskil Erlandsson, Minister for the Countryside -who also has responsibility for fishing-, Mr Koji Sekimizu, General Secretary of International Maritime Organization (IMO), Mr Ole Sohn, Danish Minister for Trade and Industry, representing the Danish presidency of EU, Members of Swedish Parliament, and other international personalities. Speakers will discuss current challenges and new opportunities for the maritime economy.

On May 21, Gothenburg will also be the theatre for the official signature of the European Social Partners' Agreement on the ILO Convention 188 concerning work in the fishing sector. Commissioner Damanaki will be present at the signing of the agreement by Europêche/Cogeca and the European Transport Workers Federation.

May 22 will be the Stakeholders' Day. The programme includes 26 workshops and there will also be an exhibition area, where maritime stakeholders will showcase a wide range of policy initiatives related to seas and oceans.


European Maritime Day was created through a tripartite declaration by the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on 20 May 2008. It is celebrated every year on 20 May and the days around and aims to raise the visibility of Maritime Europe. The previous editions of European Maritime Day were held in Brussels (2008), Rome (2009), Gijon (2010) and Gdansk (2011) 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.

More information

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

Contacts :

Oliver Drewes (+32 2 299 24 21)

Lone Mikkelsen (+32 2 296 05 67)

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