Blue Growth: marine and maritime sustainable growth for Europe
To make it through the crisis, Europe needs the contribution of all sectors of its economy. In this context, the marine and maritime sectors – the 'blue economy' – have an important role to play in the overall road to Europe's economic recovery. They represent roughly 5.6 million jobs and account for a gross value added of €495 billion and range from established ones such as coastal tourism (€121 billion GVA), to developing sectors such as cruise tourism (annual GVA of €14.1 billion) and to prospective sectors such as blue biotechnology.
Blue Growth – the sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and coasts – will be the main contribution of an Integrated Maritime Policy to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.
We need address framework conditions underpinning growth, such as maritime research and development, smart infrastructure, clusters, access to finance and necessary education, skills and training. We also have to address bottlenecks hindering economic development.
A Blue Growth strategy would help all actors -Member States, regions, and the business sector- to adjust their focus towards areas that hold the greatest potential growth in terms of profits and employment and would define concrete measures, which can help stimulate the blue economy – and Europe – in the coming years.
Areas of 'Blue Growth' potential include coastal tourism with an expected average growth of 2 to 3%, the cruise sector with a predicted growth of around 60% in this decade, ocean renewable energy which is expected to grow nearly tenfold in the years to come, and seabed mining where global turnover could grow exponentially from virtually nothing in the next ten years. In addition, several 'Blue Growth' sectors have strong potential for generating employment growth. In the cruise sector, for example, 100,000 additional jobs are expected to be created this decade. The offshore wind sector should also grow sharply, from 35,000 in 2010 up to a possible 170,000 by 2020.
Blue Growth can make a real, tangible and positive difference in terms of growth and jobs for Europe's citizens.