Setting an agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth from the Adriatic and Ionian Seas
The High-level Conference "Setting an agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth from the Adriatic and Ionian Seas" took place in Zagreb, to officially launch the maritime strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. Commissioner Maria Damanaki greeted the participants:
"Ladies and gentlemen,
The crisis has brought centre stage the burning question of how to increase growth, safeguard jobs and maintain welfare. The Adriatic and Ionian region can be a formidable engine for the economy, provided that we multiply cooperation between the countries in the region. This is how we face the recession: by working together. So we are here today to welcome the adoption of the European Commission's Communication on a maritime strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.
Since I took the initiative February 2011 in Ancona to propose a Maritime Strategy for this sea basin, a collective effort has been made by all of you: from the first stakeholder workshop in Athens last February, over to Trieste in June. Then in Portoroz in September and today in Zagreb. Many thanks for all your support on this journey!
Recently, in Cyprus, the EU Ministers for maritime affairs, together with President Barrso, adopted the "Limassol Declaration" and approved unanimously a marine and maritime agenda to uphold the 'Europe 2020' strategy for growth.
Still, this is just the beginning; today’s conference will be the first building block of the Action Plan we have to set out to achieve our objectives. It can also become the first step of a wider macro-regional strategy, covering more topics. I am open to this. For this, the Commission needs to receive a formal mandate by the European Council.
Our proposal for a coherent plan until next autumn is focused on concrete actions:
• create competitive and maritime transport links;
• address the scientific and commercial aspects of fisheries;
• develop sustainable tourism
• counter the pollution of the marine environment and the impact of climate change;
• increase safety and security through efficient maritime surveillance.
The related actions and flagship projects can apply for funding under the European new Common Strategic Framework for regional and structural support, or under the new research programme Horizon 2020 - to name just a few of the financial possibilities.
The negotiations between the Commission and each Member State on what to fund and with how much money will enter into their crucial phase by next autumn. Other potential sources of funding could come into play as well, such as the International Financial Institutions, including the Western Balkan Investment Framework, or private investors. Also we need to promote the cooperation between Member States of European Union and other Adriatic Ionian countries.
The Conclusions of today will be the perfect stepping stone for a strategy that goes beyond the geographical remit of the EU and sets a new framework for international cooperation.
Let's work together to make the Adriatic and Ionian an example of maritime excellence for Europe."