One of the key-messages I delivered, speaking at the Royal Palace Foundation Symposium “The North Sea: past, present and future”, in Amsterdam, last week, is that harmonising sea policies across Europe will bring more growth and jobs and sustainable development. But, of course, rules must be tailored to different realities and regional peculiarities.
My aim is to support those who want to work more closely together across sea basins, so that Member States and relevant public and private actors can benefit from economies of scale and learning from a mutual exchange of ideas and best practices.
We have seen encouraging progress trough European projects in specific areas: for instance, the MASPNOSE project facilitates concrete, cross-border cooperation among European countries on ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning in the maritime waters of Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, while BLUEMASSMED and MARSUNO favoured integration of Maritime Surveillance in the Mediterranean and in the Northern Sea basins respectively.
More generally, sea basin strategies can offer the framework for the relevant countries and stakeholders to reinforce cooperation and join forces on issues such as improving the environmental condition of the sea, creating common brands for tourist activities, removing transport bottlenecks and building energy interconnections and facilitating the development of common networks for research and innovation.
This is reality in the Baltic and I am sure this will be the case for the Atlantic as well, as soon as the strategy that was launched a year ago will become operative through the adoption of the Action Plan on which our maritime stakeholders are currently working on. And in early December, I am planning to launch a new strategy with a view to enhancing cooperation among Adriatic and Ionian countries: this will maximise the potential of maritime economy, better protect marine environment, enhance safety and security at sea and contribute to sustainable and responsible fishing activities.