Yesterday, more than one thousand people, from different sectors and backgrounds met in Gdańsk, to celebrate the European Maritime Day.
This city is itself an example of the potential of emerging maritime sectors: despite the problems, a part of the Shipyard has diversified its production and offers wind turbine towers and wave energy plants. At the same time, the Gdynia Maritime Academy prepares young people to be the skilled professionals of tomorrow’s maritime industry.
The sea and oceans can bring us more jobs, higher standards of living and longer, healthier lives for our people.
But we need to do more to unlock this potential and make sure that the maritime economy can benefit the 88 million Europeans who work in coastal regions, as well as any other.
We need to boost investments, for instance in the field of renewable energies, tidal energies, bio-technology products of sea origin, sea tourism, short–sea shipping, reducing costs and ensuring that marine space is properly managed. We are doing so, promoting research as part of the “Marine Knowledge 2020″ initiative and promoting Maritime Planning. Also, the creation of a network for Maritime Surveillance can counter crime, protect merchant ships and fishing boats and improve rescue operations.
These initiatives are the first pieces of a huge puzzle, and their effects are already showing. But must not stop here. We must continue to work for removing the barriers hindering sustainable growth coming from the sea. We want to mix and match the skills, research and capital needed to drive forward Europe’s maritime economy.
I am convinced that even in today’s economic climate, the challenges posed by marine renewable energies or by deep-sea exploration are not the problem: they are the solution.
Our Integrated Maritime Policy creates linkages between all the sectors, improving planning, cutting costs and promoting new resources for blue growth and jobs.