Until now, different activities and policies relating to the sea have been managed largely on sectoral lines. An Integrated Maritime Policy will change the way policy is formulated and decisions are taken in the maritime sectors, according to the EC. It will enable the relevant authorities to analyse interactions between the various sectors and policy areas, so as to develop common tools to exploit synergies and avoid conflicts.
The new policy will build on Europe’s strengths in marine research, technology and innovation. It will be anchored in the Lisbon agenda for jobs and growth, and in the EU’s commitment to ensuring that economic development goes hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability.
The Action Plan lists a range of concrete actions to be launched during the mandate of this Commission. It covers a wide spectrum of issues ranging from maritime transport to the competitiveness of maritime businesses, employment, scientific research, fisheries and the protection of the marine environment.
Initiatives include a European Maritime Transport Space without barriers; a European strategy for marine research; national integrated maritime policies to be developed by member states; an integrated network for maritime surveillance; a roadmap towards maritime spatial planning; promotion of a network of maritime clusters; a review of EU labour law exemptions for the shipping and fishing sectors; and a Europe-wide marine observation and data network.
Commission President JosÃ© Manuel Barroso, who initiated the new approach, said, “Our proposal for an Integrated Maritime Policy has been designed to generate growth, jobs and sustainability. We conceived it to promote our common European interest and to seize all opportunities that the oceans offer, while acting in a sustainable manner. It is part and parcel of our strategy to modernise Europe and prepare it for the globalised world.”