EU hopes to tap into oceans' potential

Published 15 October 2007

Proud maritime history of member states notwithstanding, the European Union waited until last week to adopt a uniform, comprehensive maritime policy for the EU

You would think that with the produd maritime history of countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal, the European community would have developed a unifrom, comprehensive maritime policy by now, but this has not been the case. To correct this situation, the European Commission has adoptedits first comprehensive maritime policy. The policy intends to create a common European maritime transport system, a new ports policy for all member nations, sustainable fisheries, the development of marine tourism, and the establishment of regional centres of maritime excellence. The adoption of the policy, announced late last week in Brussels, is the result of a year-long public consultation in which Ireland played a leading role and it includes many of the proposals put forward by the Rinville, Oranmore,

County Galway-based Marine Institute for a major program of maritime scientific and technological development.

EC president José Manuel Barroso described the policy as a comprehensive maritime policy which would help European nations to face major challenges ahead, because the oceans are the last untapped potential.

This is the first major recognition by the European Commission of the importance of the marine sector.