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News :: Towards a renewed maritime agenda in the Baltic: Blue Growth and sustainability

Towards a renewed maritime agenda in the Baltic: Blue Growth and sustainability

(03/10/2013) European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, today spoke at the "Baltic Sea Conference 2013 - Blue Growth, Sustainability and Water".

The conference, co-organised by the Commissioner and the Baltic Development Forum, brought together the European Commission, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, and over 250 participants to discuss Blue Growth in the Baltic Sea area.

Commissioner Damanaki said: "The Baltic is one of Europe's most competitive and innovative sea basins. The maritime economy here thrives on sustainability and innovation to ensure the long-term sustainable development of its maritime economy. The region should build on the assets it has – leading innovation and research, strong maritime clusters, a proactive approach towards marine environment challenges, and well-established cooperation".

The Commissioner pointed to the potential for growth of the Baltic Sea in areas such as shipping, marine equipment, offshore wind, maritime and coastal tourism, aquaculture and marine biotechnology. The Commissioner was happy to note that Blue Growth and Green growth were perceived by the Conference as being intertwined and that the Blue Growth agenda continues to be pursued collectively by all actors involved throughout the conference.

A consensus was reached amongst delegates that a healthy Baltic Sea is a precondition for economic growth in the maritime economy which was further underlined by a delegation from the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission joining the discussions. It was further agreed that sustainability should not only be regarded as a duty towards the environment and communities but also as a driver for growth and creator of business opportunities.

The role of blue growth within the EU's Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will be further discussed on 11-12 November at the Annual Stakeholder Forum where Commissioner Damanaki will deliver a speech at the opening session.