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New Maritime Agenda

09 October 2012
by eub2 -- last modified 09 October 2012

A European agenda for creating growth and jobs in the marine and maritime sectors was adopted on 8 October by European Ministers for maritime policy and the European Commission at a conference in Limassol organised by the Cypriot Presidency. Five years after the launch of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, the Member States and the Commission reaffirmed that a dynamic and coordinated approach to maritime affairs enhances the development of the EU's 'Blue Economy' while ensuring the health of seas and oceans.


The declaration proposes a marine and maritime agenda to back the Europe 2020 strategy. As highlighted in a  recent 'Blue Growth' initiative from the Commission on opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth, the agenda focuses on promising maritime sectors where there is a great potential for new jobs and growth. These sectors are: marine renewable energy, aquaculture, blue biotechnology, coastal tourism and sea bed mining.

Ministers also called on EU Member States and European Institutions to put in place the right conditions for the Blue Economy to deliver: support for research and marine knowledge, maritime training, cost-efficient cooperation on maritime surveillance, improved planning of maritime space and the further implementation of the Marine strategy Framework directive.


Why does the EU need a Maritime agenda for growth and jobs? Why now?

The blue economy is seen as important for Europe. Its gross value added is estimated at around €500 billion, increasing to around €600 billion in 2020. Over the same period, people employed in the blue economy are expected to increase from 5.4 million to 7 million. Added to this is the fact that 75% of Europe's external trade and 37% of intra-European trade is seaborne. Europe's oceans, seas and coasts are, and will continue to be, Europe's economic lifeline.

The Commission says Europe needs to take all available opportunities to provide sustainable growth and jobs to work itself out of the current financial and economic crisis. The sea offers a number of opportunities. The EU has a number of instruments at its disposal that can add value to what Member States and industry is already doing.

How were the five targeted maritime sectors selected?

The Commission has built a comprehensive picture of the economic size and employment of marine and maritime sectors in Europe, and has also looked at where these sectors could realistically be heading in the coming years and where there is a particular potential for innovation and new jobs.

Its findings show that coastal and maritime tourism is the biggest maritime sector in terms of gross value added and employment and is expected to grow by 2 to 3% by 2020, while cruise tourism is expected to create 100,000 new jobs by 2020 compared to 2010. As the worldwide ocean energy installed capacity is expected to double yearly in the near future, the commercialisation of wave and tidal technologies will be enhanced through a reduction in technology costs. According to estimates, the global annual turnover of marine mineral mining is expected to grow from virtually nothing to €5 billion in the next 10 years and up to €10 billion by 2030. EU aquaculture could contribute to a healthy diet if the growth rate outside the EU could be matched. In the next decade or so, the blue biotechnology sector should become a provider of mass product markets, including cosmetics, food products, pharmaceutics, chemicals and biofuels.

What's the next step?

Following the adoption of the Limassol Declaration, a set of Commission initiatives will be launched in the near future to explore and develop the growth potential in the identified areas, including Communications on coastal and maritime tourism, ocean energy, blue biotechnology and marine mineral mining, as well as strategic guidelines on aquaculture. All initiatives will be undertaken in consultation with Member states and relevant stakeholders.

Further information

Informal Ministerial Meeting on EU Integrated Maritime Policy

Source: European Commission