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.

Under the Blue Growth, an Initiative for Research and Innovation in the Black Sea has been launched in Burgas on 31 May. It has been produced by experts from the Black Sea coastal countries, namely the Republic of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Turkey and Ukraine, as well as the Republic of Moldova, in cooperation with marine experts from leading European marine institutes and organisations, and with the support of the European Commission, with the aim to advance a shared vision for a productive, healthy, resilient, sustainable and better valued Black Sea by 2030.

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 (PDF icon 559 KB) 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).

The arrangement signed with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina  complements the EU's wide-ranging and successful cooperation on science and technology and also its long-standing commitment towards Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation. The European Commission and the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde signed a new research and innovation cooperation arrangement. The so-called Mindelo Arrangement (PDF icon 2.1 MB) aims at strengthening and enhancing research and innovation cooperation in Blue Growth.

Mediterranean Sea

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

Baltic Sea

A strategic research agenda for the Black Sea has been launched during 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.


  • Research and innovation for healthy and clean oceans and seas
    Factsheet (PDF icon 278 KB)
  • Mindelo Arrangement on marine research cooperation
    Factsheet (PDF icon 298 KB) | Infographic (PDF icon 2.1 MB)

Related links

Blue Growth Vision Paper on Black Sea