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EU Publishes Green Paper On Maritime Policy

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

09 June 2006


The European Commission on Wednesday published a Green Paper entitled: 'Towards a Future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas', launching one of the largest consultation exercises in the EU’s history.

The consultation responds to a growing awareness both of the vital role that the sea already plays as a driver of Europe’s prosperity, and of its potential for providing more jobs and greater well-being. The results of this exercise will help the Commission define a new vision for an integrated maritime policy.

The main question asked by the Green Paper is: can Europe afford to manage its seas and oceans in a sectoral, unconnected, way? Or has the time come to establish a truly integrated Maritime Policy which will release untapped potential in terms of growth and jobs while strengthening the protection of the marine environment? And if so, how should the Commission go about it?

EC President José Manuel Barroso, who initiated the process, explained that:

“Europe has long benefited from its maritime activities. However, much more could be made of our seas and oceans to increase the prosperity and well being of European citizens. Today’s Green Paper gives us all the opportunity to put our heads together to see how best to do it. I encourage everyone to have their say on how they see a future maritime policy for the Union which would boost jobs while protecting the marine environment."

Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs added:

“As our maritime activities increase and diversify so does the need for coordination and planning so as to avoid conflict and optimise our returns from the sea. An all-embracing approach would allow us to combine economic growth with effective protection of the marine environment and greater stakeholder participation. This is a project where Member States, regions, industry, NGOs and the public all have an interest in finding the best way ahead in our future relation with the sea."

The Green Paper seeks to highlight the interconnections and interdependence of domains such as transport, shipping, trade, coastal and port-based industries, off-shore, traditional and alternative energies, fisheries, aquaculture, marine research, and tourism – links which are often ignored by existing procedures.


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