With a coastline seven times as long as the US’, the EU has the world’s largest marine realm. It provides food, jobs, economic growth and regulates our climate. In order to continue to benefit from our oceans, the EU needs to find a balance between making use of its economic potential while maintaining healthy seas at the same time.
Today, oceans are high on the agenda. Marine litter is a great concern of the citizens. Coral bleaching is only one of the most obvious impacts of climate change on the ocean. At the same time offshore wind power and new technologies such as tidal and wave are a key element of a more sustainable energy production. Digitalisation and innovation will change the blue economy and its careers dramatically. Furthermore, maritime cooperation and energy supply to islands are current topics to ensure that islands remain accessible and sustainable.
The EU has become a global pioneer in maritime policy thanks to its Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, its excellent research institutes, innovative blue enterprises and its regional cooperation in the different sea basins.
Throughout the last four years, the SEARICA intergroup has organised various events and initiatives to support maritime legislation, funding and networking. SEARICA Members succeeded in establishing a Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative, a Pilot Project on ocean literacy and the post of a Special Envoy on Maritime Policy. They pushed for a Mission: Healthy Oceans in the upcoming Horizon Europe programme, a maritime dimension in the Invest EU programme and called for a greater emphasis on oceans in climate policy at the COP21.
With the parliamentary term coming to an end, this final SEARICA conference aims at reflecting on past maritime achievements and looking at future challenges and its possible solutions.