At the end of last year, the European Council endorsed the Commission ambitious plan for growth and jobs in European maritime economy. This year, I will work to set up a coherent framework in order to see through the implementation of our plan.
First of all, we must ensure that the conditions are in place for the maritime economy to achieve its full potential. It is important that we gain in-depth knowledge of our seas and oceans: building on the results of the consultation we run last year on seabed mapping to ocean forecasting and on the success of the prototype European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), we will launch an initiative to unlock and assemble marine data from different sources and facilitate their use. Data and information gathered through seabed mapping can help define marine protected areas and help business to take informed decisions on investments in marine and maritime activities.This will increase efficiency, open up new opportunities and drive innovation and reduce uncertainties.
On the other hand, it is evident that economic developments can deliver their benefits only if the pressure on marine ecosystems is correctly managed and that a precise set of criteria for the allocation of space is needed to boost investors’ confidence; to this aim, early this year, I am tabling a proposal for Maritime Spatial planning and coastal management.
At the same time, we will put in place the first building blocks announced in the Blue Growth strategy, proposing in the course of 2013 strategic guidelines for the European Aquaculture, as well as initiatives in the fields of marine renewable energies and coastal and maritime tourism. Our overall strategy will need to be tailored to the specific needs of sea-basin: we will table Action Plans for the implementation of the Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic and another one for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas in the coming months.