Ministeriële conferentie over nieuwe maritieme beleid, 22 oktober 2007 (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Portugees voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2007, gepubliceerd op woensdag 10 oktober 2007.

The European Union has almost 70.000 km of coastline and borders six seas and oceans - including its outermost regions and islands. With the recent enlargement, Europe has a new maritime dimension: the Black Sea. Half of all Europeans live nowadays less than 50 km from the coast and maritime-based industries and services produce between 3 to 5% of the European GDP. The development of an integrated maritime policy is therefore essential to all member states, even to those which do not have a coastline.

The Ministerial Conference on the Maritime Policy for the European Union, to be held in Lisbon on October 22, 2007, is the most important initiative of the Portuguese Presidency on oceans and seas, pointing out to its strategic importance for Europe.

This Conference aims to sit around the same table, for the first time ever, the main political decision makers responsible for the coordination of sea affairs, regardless of their individual portfolio, as well as the EEE EFTA States and the European institutions concerned. Together, they will have for the first time an exchange of views on the communication entitled «Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union» and the annexed Action Plan, which the Commission adopted on October 10, 2007.

This new policy will be based on the main political priorities guiding the work of the Union (Lisbon "Growth and Jobs" and Göteborg "Sustainable Development" Strategies), and aims at a thriving maritime economy and the full use of the sea's potential in a sustainable manner. It will require a new, integrated and cross-sectoral approach to maritime affairs, and the development and delivery of a coherent and wide-ranging work programme.

The main political priorities underpin a total of 26 actions (to be achieved until the end of the mandate of this Commission), to which can be added others as the policy develops further. The proposed integrated policy requires the development of fully integrated horizontal actions (notably on data collection and use, maritime spatial planning, and surveillance), and a holistic approach to maritime governance at all levels, and in particular within regions and Member States.

Moreover, the Lisbon Ministerial Conference aims to discuss the Commission's communication reporting on the one year widely-participated consultation process which took place in Europe between June 2006 and June 2007 on the Green Paper «Towards a future Maritime Policy for the European Union: A European Vision for Oceans and Seas».

The Portuguese Presidency's goal is, also in this way, to start preparing the conclusions of the December European Council of Heads of State and Government. Those conclusions should constitute a sound basis for the establishment of a holistic and more effective European Maritime Policy for the Union in the 21st century, which will necessarily entail the promotion of concrete and carefully targeted measures in 2008, during the Slovenian and French Council Presidencies.

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