The Black Sea is bordered by six countries, including the EU Members States Bulgaria and Romania. To foster synergies and coordination among their blue economy sectors, the European Commission seeks dialogue with the stakeholder community, both public and private. The Commission supports capacity building and cross-border and transnational cooperation on marine and maritime issues.
The annual high-level stakeholder conference on blue economy has turned into an important forum for public administrations, maritime practitioners, entrepreneurs and other interested parties from the region. These conferences help identifying how Black Sea countries can increase their blue growth potential, embrace innovation, get access to funding and sustainably develop coastal areas. Four annual high-level conferences have taken place so far: Bucharest (2014), Sofia (2015), Odessa (2016) and Batumi (2017).
To structure the cooperation on maritime affairs, the six coastal countries and the Republic of Moldova will elaborate a common maritime agenda for the Black Sea by 2019. Through the “Facility for Blue Growth” – an EU-funded assistance mechanism – administrations and stakeholders in the region get support to identify common priorities for cooperation at sea basin level, thus laying the foundation of this common agenda.
In the context of the European Maritime Day 2018 (Bulgaria, 30-31 May), Black Sea Ministers expressed their support for closer regional cooperation on maritime affairs, including transport, environment, research and innovation. They endorsed the Burgas Declaration “Towards a Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea”.
The European Commission supports marine researchers and policy makers from all Black Sea coastal countries to define strategic priorities for Blue Growth research and innovation. A milestone in this process is the adoption of the Burgas Vision Paper (2018). The work of the researchers can be tracked here.
Over the last 5 years, the Commission has ordered a series of studies to identify areas for enhanced cooperation at sea-basin level and to explore the potential for maritime clusters. The results are published and can be found on the Maritime forum webpage (see below). Open calls for proposals covering the Black Sea are regularly published on our webpage.
The Black Sea Synergy is an EU initiative for regional cooperation with and between the countries surrounding the Black Sea. In 2015, together with the European External Action Service, the European Commission issued a Joint Staff Working Document on the Implementation of the Black Sea Synergy from 2009 to 2014. It offers a snapshot of progress in the main fields of cooperation in the Black Sea region, including maritime policy.
The EU also enjoys observer status in two regional organisations:
Marine and maritime-related EU-funded projects can be found across various policy areas and are financed by various EU funds. Especially the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) provide financial support for actions in this region. The latter finances the Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2014-20, which aims to contribute to sustainable development of the region, by promoting business and entrepreneurship (incl. tourism) as well as environmental protection and the reduction of marine litter.
Maritime Forum (the maritime inventory)