Commissioner Damanaki congratulates participants in the BluemassMed EU project for maritime surveillance
Commissioner Maria Damanaki addressed a message to congratulate the authorities participating in the BluemassMed project at the dedicated European Demonstration Conference.
In recent years a surge of risks and threats (pollution, illegal fishing, unauthorised immigration, drug trafficking, menaces to the security of shipping) has increased the responsibilities of States at sea. The action of State forces on or near the sea had to be made more effective. This led to our imagining new ways of cooperating, based on the systematic and organised sharing of information. To do this the «BluemassMed network» was designed to make the partners’ present maritime information processing systems interoperable.
BluemassMed is a project co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy. It brings together 37 agencies responsible for maritime surveillance in the 6 Member States bordering the Mediterranean and its Atlantic approaches (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Malta).
After a two-year fruitful exploration leading to an experimental demonstration, the conference held in Brussels on 7 June presented the results and broached the issues opened up by this project.
Dear Organisers, dear Participants,
From the start, I have been following the BluemassMed project with great interest. I can only but congratulate you on your achievements. I am proud that six Mediterranean Member States have managed to put such a concrete cooperation in place. I regret that I cannot be with you today, to experience first hand the demonstration and to welcome your success.
The Commission has been working for the integration of maritime surveillance for a couple of years now, engaging with the Member States and EU institutions at political level. BluemassMed was one of the pilot projects testing the idea on the ground.
My sincere gratitude goes to France for efficiently coordinating the Mediterranean Member States and Portugal, as well to each and every partner authority who put much effort into this.
A first and most important step to achieve our vision is sharing information not only across borders, but also across sectors: this would create a truly common information sharing environment. You have been pioneers in finding cooperation ways to do so: thanks to you and your sister project Marsuno in the North. There are now sixty-one national maritime authorities across Europe – from North to South - which work together on a daily basis.
You have told us very clearly that this ambitious vision needs leadership and political will. Therefore I am re-assured by your message: Where there is a will, there is a way. I can also assure you that I am personally committed to ensuring the further political progress of our joint endeavor.
The common information sharing environment will be stepping stone in the Commission's agenda for digitalisation and simplification. It will increase the effectiveness of public authorities: this means more efficient operations for less money – and with today's budget cuts, it means freeing up funds for other important investments.
Of course implementing the CISE will not be done overnight. On the contrary, it should be done with great caution and care. We will still have to solve together legal and technical problems.
I am aiming at presenting a White Paper on maritime data sharing, with concrete policy proposals by the end of 2013.
To conclude, ladies and gentlemen,
For the Commission, the finalization of BluemassMed opens up new opportunities in maritime surveillance. I thank you again and count on you to continue and sustain the cooperation started with this project. Keep up the good work.