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Archive for March, 2012

MANAGING SEA SPACE TO SECURE BLUE GROWTH

Monday, March 26th, 2012
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Maritime spatial planning: the right answer to secure and support Blue growth for the European Union

I have already said it on this blog and I repeat it: we have not yet fully grasped the contribution that our seas and oceans can deliver to European economy.

We know that in some fields developments can be stunning: maritime transport grows at an average rate of over 8.5% every year, and cruise tourism alone has tripled its size between 1999 and 2009; offshore wind energy is expected to grow from 4 GW capacity this year to 150 GW in 2030 – this is 4000%! You have to add to this the potential of other sectors now growing up as aquaculture, deep-sea mining or non-wind renewable energies, to have the full picture.

So it is evident that the demand for space is already high and can lead to conflicts between different uses in marine areas. And it is also patent that economic developments can deliver their benefits only if the pressure on marine ecosystems is correctly managed. Read the full entry

A FATAL TASTE FOR BABY-FISH

Monday, March 19th, 2012
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When the EU forbade juveniles catches, back in 2006, we knew that it was a first step, but a long way was still ahead: sometimes, putting a rule in writing is not enough to have respected!

And, as a Greek, I know that the fatal taste that we developed for baby-fish in the Mediterranean will be hard to change: almost every taverna in my country continues to serve, at least occasionally, fried juveniles.

It is very much enshrined in our culture: I am a big fan of Andrea Camilleri, the well known Italian writer who created Montalbano, and I intend to write him a letter to pay tribute to his work, but also to ask him to stop having the protagonist of his novels eating small squids: that is unethical!

Moreover, if fishermen let the fish grow, they can catch it the year after, bigger and more valuable: fishing for juveniles is economically irrational. Read the full entry

8TH MARCH: EQUALITY IN THE TIME OF CRISIS

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
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The contraction of welfare state, due to the economic crisis and recession that we are experiencing in the European Union, add new and complex dimensions to the issue of equality between women and men. The tools of the past may reveal themselves insufficient to address present and future challenges.

The commitment of the entire Commission led, in 2010, to the adoption of a 5-year strategy, with concrete objectives for promoting equality between women and men. This year we are opening a consultation on the actions to counter the imbalance between men and women in positions of responsibility. Fighting unemployment and the impact of economic crisis on equality will also be central for our policies.

But the picture gets even more imbalanced as we move to specific situations in EU countries. We have to address these regional differences and their roots. Read the full entry

TOWARDS RIO PLUS 20: THE WAY TO GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
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Rio plus 20

The future we want

In June, the UN Conference on sustainable development will take place in Rio. Oceans are one of the main priorities and I will bring to the “Rio plus 20″ conference the EU commitment to move forward on several fronts, towards ambitious goals.

The impact of our plans to phase out discards will be lessened in the absence of a roadmap for the rest of the world. The same goes for illegal fishing: we have to seize the opportunity to step up international commitment and work toward a worldwide catch certification scheme.

My hope is that our partners’ ambition will match ours and that the contribution of civil society will help us to tackle outstanding issues. To do so, we need to fill the serious governance gap that exists today. Only through concrete actions across borders and sectors we will be able to achieve overarching objectives of the international community, such as biodiversity protection and address the conservation and the sustainable use of marine biological diversity in deep-sea areas, beyond national jurisdiction. Read the full entry

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