Every year the international conference and exhibition that celebrate European Maritime Day offer maritime stakeholders a dynamic platform for dialogue and exchange. The outcomes of the event also help shape the European Commission's vision for maritime policy for the years ahead.
This year's conference, hosted in Turku, Finland, on 18 and 19 May, is entitled "Investing in smart and sustainable solutions for competitive Blue Growth" and focusses on unlocking investment in the blue economy.
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Throughout the world, more and more opportunities for 'blue' growth and jobs are being identified. The EU is in the lead on several blue economy technologies, such as renewable energy or clean shipping. We are leading because we have invested. Our commitment to sustainability is what gives us our competitive edge and what will open up new global business opportunities for our industry".
Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipilä said: ”Our goal is to make Finland a forerunner in the bioeconomy, circular economy and cleantech by 2025. Sustainable solutions speed up export and employment. With better regulation we can increase investments that will help boost economic growth. At the moment, we are also preparing a national development plan for the blue bioeconomy to capitalise on the growth potential of the sector. Furthermore, we will do our part to safeguard the future of the maritime cluster.”
Mayor of Turku Aleksi Randell said: '' Turku has the honour of hosting the most notable maritime event in Europe. Turku is at the heart of the Finnish maritime cluster and the Baltic Sea co-operation. Turku designs and builds the largest and most environmentally friendly cruise ships in the world. We will actively continue our work toward wellbeing and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region''
The Finnish Government will be represented by Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen and Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
In Turku, over 1000 participants will be able to choose among 21 stakeholder workshops, 5 thematic sessions (Investing in blue growth, Improving ocean governance, Boosting skills development, Harnessing clean energy and Facilitating joint action) and 2 'Leadership Exchange' panels. The two-day event is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the City of Turku and the Finnish Government.
The role that ports play in the maritime economy will be recurring this year through images. The photo competition organised by the European Commission through social networks, called #MyPortForTurku, attracted almost 600 pictures from 166 ports in 24 countries as well as 45 sponsors. Fifty works, chosen by an independent jury for their distinction, are exhibited at European Maritime Day in Turku. They will then go through several other European cities: a travelling exhibition of the vast diversity and unique value of European harbours.
As Maritime Day is a pan-European celebration of the sea in all its forms, during the month of May another 30 events are taking place throughout the EU in the form of workshops, open door days at museums or aquaria, school projects and much more. The city of Turku itself will host several side events in the days following the main conference.).
In addition to delivering the opening speech at European Maritime Day, Commissioner Vella will participate in a roundtable discussion with maritime industry CEOs on blue growth and speak at the Ministerial Session of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. The EU will take over the presidency of the Helsinki Commission from 1 July 2016. The Commissioner will also visit the Meyer Turku shipyard and test a wave energy converter technology at the AW-Energy Järvenpää Research Center.”