Bioeconomy policy

Policy background, strategy and contribution to the Commission's political agenda of bioeconomy policy

Blue Growth - the EU’s integrated Maritime Strategy

Earth’s future will depend on the protection and sustainable management of our seas and oceans and the resources they provide. This is recognised by the Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance, which is an integral part of the EU’s response to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular to the targets set out by Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources".

The Joint Communication states that "Ocean management should be based on sound scientific research and knowledge." One of three key pillars of the International Ocean Governance is dedicated to strengthening international ocean research and data.

The EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 plays a crucial role in driving and supporting research and innovation (R&I) related to marine and maritime areas. The EU spends approximately €260 million annually in marine and maritime related R&I under dedicated Blue Growth calls and throughout other parts of Horizon 2020. This also supports the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, in particular the Blue Growth Agenda, thereby contributing to the sustainable and responsible management of marine resources, in Europe and globally.

The sea-basin-based approach has led to the launch of a series of dedicated R&I initiatives which are implemented by the Commission.

Atlantic Ocean

On 12-14 July 2017, Commissioner Moedas hosted the high-level ministerial and scientific event in Lisbon A New Era of Blue Enlightenment, Portugal. At this event, Commissioner Moedas co-signed the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation with Minister Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa and Minister Kassab, Minister of State for Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications, Brazil.

The Belem Statement: EN  PDF icon 836 KB | PT  PDF icon 184 KB launches the European Union – Brazil – South Africa Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation, aiming to better understand and deepen scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems and the interrelations between oceans and climate change, oceans and food, and oceans and energy systems, as well as the dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean and its interconnected Circulation Systems from Antarctica to the Arctic.

The Belém Statement builds on The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation, which was signed on 24 May 2013 by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and Commissioner Damanaki on behalf of the European Union, together with high-level representatives from United Stated of America and Canada and which launched the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA).

Mediterranean Sea

  • BLUEMED- the R&I Initiative for promoting the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean Basin through cooperation.

Baltic Sea

  • BONUS - the Article 185 based Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme.
  • Preparations to launch a strategic research agenda for the Black Sea are currently ongoing, which will be launched at the European Maritime Day in Burgas, Bulgaria in May 2018.

Specific initiatives such as the Joint Programming Initiatives Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI-Oceans) are also monitored by the Commission. JPI Oceans is a coordinating and integrating long-term platform, open on a voluntary basis to all EU Member States and Associated Countries who invest in marine and maritime research. The Commission is a non-voting member of the JPI Management Board.

The newly published report Sustainable Blue Economy and productive seas and oceans demonstrates how the results of recent R&I projects funded by the European Union contribute to four selected policy challenges related to the EU’s Blue Economy.



  • Bioeconomy Policy Day
    On 16 November 2017, the European Commission organized a high level event, together with nine Directorates General, to discuss the outcome of the review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Stategy.

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