Opened by Commissioner Damanaki, the conference brought together more than 1,200 policy-makers, experts, academics and citizens who participated in a number of plenary and workshop sessions focusing on how Europe can create the conditions for innovation and research in the blue economy.
The EU's Blue Growth strategy, which reconciles economic growth and sustainable development, was high on the agenda with participants and speakers calling on Europe to take the lead in promoting a global framework for ocean governance and the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources. Indeed, the EU has already developed effective governance forms for its sea basins including through its new Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning, which was mentioned in several sessions as an important tool for future decision-making.
The conference came just two weeks after the EU adopted its action plan for innovation in the 'Blue Economy' which recognises that our knowledge about the sea is still limited, that maritime research efforts between Member States are not linked up, and that the European workforce of tomorrow will need more engineers and scientists to apply new technologies in the marine environment.
Every year 'maritime Europe' comes together to showcase the importance of the seas and oceans for our everyday life. This year's event was organised by the European Commission, in partnership with the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the German Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Next year's European Maritime Day will be held by Piraeus, Greece, in May 2015.