The European Commission has adopted (13th May 2013) an Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area. The aim of the Action Plan is to help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "Blue Economy", which, according to the Commission, has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020. At the same time the Plan aims to preserve the environmental and ecological stability of the Atlantic Ocean. The Action Plan, follows from the European Union Strategy for the Atlantic (2011), which is one of a number of sea basin strategies designed to implement the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (2007).
The European Atlantic Action Plan complements the Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth” launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., in July 2012.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: “The Atlantic plays an important role in Europe's history and identity. Our Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic will explore its immense potential for the future sustainable development of Europe. Together with our Atlantic Members States, we will exploit the common challenges and opportunities the Atlantic offers us, from issues like coastal tourism and fisheries to renewable energy, mineral seabed exploration and marine biotechnology."
Further details of the Atlantic Action Plan (2014-2020) will be outlined by Commissioner Damanaki at the Irish-EU Presidency Event “The Atlantic – A Shared Resource” in Galway on 24th May.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute, noted that Ireland, through the Inter-Department Marine Co-ordination Group, had played a significant role in shaping and defining the Atlantic Action Plan. The Irish marine community had also contributed greatly, he said, through the open consultation process and through participation in the five Regional Atlantic Fora organised to discuss the content of the Plan. The last of these Fora, focussing on research and Innovation and Implementation of the Action Plan, was held in Cork on 4th – 5th March 2013.
Implementation of the Action Plan is voluntary and depends on Member States including the Action Plan in the various EU –Member State Partnership Agreements for Structural, Regional, Research and Environmental Funds for the Financial Period 2014-2020 and in National Development and Research Programmes.
Published: 13th May 2013