The Maltese presidency organised an Informal Ministerial Meeting on Blue Growth and Ocean Governance in the EU and the Mediterranean; Innovation, and Nautical Tourism on 20 April 2017 in Valletta. Blue Growth is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the maritime sector and represents the maritime input to attaining the goals of Europe 2020. The Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella gave the opening speech at the conference. He highlighted some achievements like global leadership of Europe in the development of ocean energy technologies (Europe host 52% of all tidal stream developers and 60% of all wave energy developers in the world) or the fact that in the last 10 years, EU research programmes have provided some 150 million euros to fund ocean energy research, development and innovation. He also mentioned that the value of sustainable aquaculture production in the EU is up by more than 40% compared to a decade ago. Vella also flagged three areas where more needs to be done: access to finance, skills and qualifications connected to new jobs and finally the regional cooperation.
The North Sea is an economic maritime heavyweight in Europe and provides a huge potential for enhancing the blue economy and boosting the region’s competitiveness. Cooperation at sea-basin level has an essential role to play in building on this potential.
In order to foster a discussion on a broad set of economic opportunities related to the blue economy, the European Commission aims to bring together selected stakeholders for a day and a half of structured discussions. The event will be focused on challenges and opportunities for strategic transnational co-operation and in particular, what needs to be done to facilitate and accelerate strategic public-private initiatives that can maximise joint business opportunities in blue growth areas/value chains in the North Sea region. The workshop will be organised in a participative and inclusive way, as to identify the collective ideas and needs of the stakeholders.
In order to collect views and experience from stakeholders and potential workshop participants an online survey is being launched. The survey results will be used draw up the final programme so as to ensure a structured, focused and result-oriented discussion. Interested stakeholders are requested to fill in the survey before 25 April 2016.
Online registration and practical information on the event: registration will be provided to the participants who receive an invitation to the event (early May). To make sure a representative group of stakeholders are present in a balanced way, participation will be on an invitation only basis.
Detailed information on the programme and final report will be available for all stakeholders on the website for the workshop (link will follow in the coming weeks). The workshop will be hosted by the Province of South Holland in the Province House (Provinciehuis) located in The Hague.