Blue Growth: Commission presents prospects for sustainable growth from marine and maritime sectors

Blue Growth: marine and maritime sustainable growth for Europe © Lionel Flageul

To make it through the crisis, Europe needs the contribution of all sectors of its economy. In a Communication on 'Blue Growth' adopted today, the European Commission presents promising indications for economic growth and employment prospects in the marine and maritime economy to help Europe's economic recovery. These economic sectors provide jobs for 5.4 million people and contribute a total gross value added of around 500 billion euros. By 2020, these should increase to 7 million and nearly 600 billion euros respectively. To realise this potential, the Commission establishes that obstacles hindering growth have to be removed and smart solutions to boost new sectors need to be implemented. By promoting marine research and innovation, by supporting innovative Small and Medium entreprises, by addressing skills needs and by encouraging innovative products and solutions, Europe can unlock the untapped potential for growth in its blue economy while safeguarding biodiversity and protecting the environment. Traditional sectors such as maritime transport and maritime and coastal tourism will gain in competitiveness. Growing and emerging sectors, such as ocean renewable energy and blue biotechnology, can become a key to creating more jobs, cleaner energy, and more products and services.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki, said: “All parts of Europe's economy are essential in lifting us through this difficult period. The 'blue economy' presents opportunities for sustainable economic growth both in established and emerging marine and maritime sectors. Innovation, enterprise and dynamism characterise these sectors of Europe's economy. Blue Growth is about getting everybody – starting from the institutions and Member States, to regions and SMEs – to work towards ensuring that we overcome existing challenges to ensure the most productive and sustainable use of what our seas and coasts offer."

Today's Communication launches a process which will place the blue economy firmly on the agenda of Member States, regions, enterprise and civil society. It describes how Member States and EU policies are already supporting the blue economy. It then identifies five specific areas with a particular potential for growth where targeted action could provide an additional stimulus: i) maritime, coastal and cruise tourism, ii) Blue energy, iii) marine mineral resources, iv) aquaculture and v) blue biotechnology.

A set of Commission initiatives will be launched in the near future to explore and develop the growth potential in these areas, including Communications on coastal and maritime tourism, ocean energy, blue biotechnology and marine mineral mining, as well as strategic guidelines on aquaculture. All initiatives will be undertaken in consultation with Member states and relevant stakeholders.

Background

Blue Growth is the contribution of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Based on its Blue Growth Study, the Commission has built a comprehensive picture of the economic size and employment of marine and maritime sectors in Europe, and has also looked at where these sectors could realistically be heading in the coming years and where there is a particular potential for innovation and new jobs.

The study found that coastal and maritime tourism is the biggest maritime sector in terms of gross value added and employment and is expected to grow by 2 to 3% by 2020, while cruise tourism is expected to create 100,000 new jobs by 2020 compared to 2010. As the worldwide ocean energy installed capacity is expected to double yearly in the near future, the commercialisation of wave and tidal technologies will be enhanced through a reduction in technology costs. According to estimates, the global annual turnover of marine mineral mining is expected to grow from virtually nothing to €5 billion in the next 10 years and up to €10 billion by 2030. EU aquaculture could contribute to a healthy diet if the growth rate outside the EU could be matched. In the next decade or so, the blue biotechnology sector should become a provider of mass product markets, including cosmetics, food products, pharmaceutics, chemicals and biofuels.

The Blue Growth communication will feature as one of the main issues for discussion during the Cyprus Ministerial Conference on the Integrated Maritime Policy being held in Limassol on 8 October 2012.

Progress report on IMP

In a separate report adopted by the Commission today, the Commission takes stock of progress in implementing the 2007 Integrated Maritime Policy and lists all Commission initiatives taken to support sustainable maritime growth. Since its creation, the Integrated Maritime Policy seeks to enhance the sustainable development of the European maritime economy by facilitating the cooperation of all maritime players across sectors and across borders.

Last update: 17/04/2013 |  Top