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EU moves to strengthen maritime policy

EU Council of Ministers in June will create a financial instrument to develop a comprehensive maritime policy and will promote the inclusion of a maritime aspect in EU security and defence policies, said on Thursday the Spanish Secretary of State for the EU, Diego Lopez Garrido.

Lopez Garrido told a press conference in Gijón to mark European Maritime Day that Spain will use the last Council of Ministers of its six month European Presidency to promote both measures. He also said that the meeting will address the importance of maritime policies in dealing with the crisis and the need to include them in the European strategy for growth and economic development.

The Spanish Secretary of State for the EU participated in the opening ceremony for European Maritime Day, which was also attended by the Prince of Asturias; the Spanish Minister for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Elena Espinosa; the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, María Damanaki; and the Vice President of the European Parliament, Rodi Krasta-Tsagarapoulou.

The Prince of Asturias called for a global approach to tackle the complexity of the marine environment, and expressed his support for sustained development in terms of efficiency, innovation, competitiveness and environmental respect. For her part, the Spanish minister stressed that the objective of maritime policy should be to achieve a "good [environmental] status" of European marine waters and called for a broader knowledge of seas and oceans, and their economic, social and environmental evolution.

She supported information work and the more innovation, as well as the development of joint marine strategies "which are seen not as a threat, but as an opportunity".

"We need to make the sea attractive for people's livelihood and employment which means reassessing professional qualifications and studies in the maritime sector," added Espinosa. Commissioner Damanaki noted the need to develop a comprehensive policy that includes all involved parties in activities related to the sea, and was in favour of implementing universal instruments and those that expand marine knowledge.


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