Procedure : 2014/2214(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0279/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0279/2015

Debates :

PV 27/10/2015 - 14
CRE 27/10/2015 - 14

Votes :

PV 28/10/2015 - 7.9
CRE 28/10/2015 - 7.9
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0383

REPORT     
PDF 241kWORD 207k
1.10.2015
PE 557.188v02-00 A8-0279/2015

on an EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region

(2014/2214(INI))

Committee on Regional Development

Rapporteur: Ivan Jakovčić

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on an EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region

(2014/2214(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication concerning the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (COM(2014)0357) and the accompanying action plan and supportive analytical document,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (hereinafter ‘the CPR’)(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 October 2014 on the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning the added value of macro-regional strategies (COM(2013)0468) and the relevant Council conclusions of 22 October 2013,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 11 September 2014 on the Commission communication concerning the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (COM(2014)0357) and the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region: research, development and innovation in SMEs (exploratory opinion requested by the Italian Presidency of the EU),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 January 2014 on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) (exploratory opinion),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 26 June 2014 on the EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region,

–  having regard to the own-initiative opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 11 October 2011 entitled ‘Territorial cooperation in the Mediterranean through the Adriatic and Ionian macroregion’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2012 on the evolution of EU macro-regional strategies: present practice and future prospects, especially in the Mediterranean(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas’ (COM(2012)0713),

–  having regard to the Commission report concerning the governance of macro-regional strategies (COM(2014)0284),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 26 January 2011 entitled ‘Regional policy contributing to sustainable growth in Europe 2020’ (COM(2011)0017),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment,

–  having regard to Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2005/370/EC of 17 February 2005 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (Aarhus Convention),

–  having regard to the Ancona Declaration, adopted at the Conference on Development and Security in the Adriatic and Ionian of 19-20 May 2000,

–  having regard to the Founding Conference of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion held in Pula on 30 June 2006, and to the Declaration on launching the initiative for creating the Adriatic Strategy adopted at the Assembly of the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion held in Split on 22 October 2009,

–  having regard to the study by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies (Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies) of January 2015 entitled ‘New Role of Macro-Regions in European Territorial Cooperation’,

–  having regard to the study by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies (Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies) of June 2015 entitled ‘Adriatic and Ionian region: Socio-Economic Analysis and Assessment of Transport and Energy Links’,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0279/2015),

A.  whereas the macro-regional strategies represent a new model of multilevel governance in which the involvement of stakeholders representing the EU, national, regional and local levels, including economic and social partners and civil society organisations, as well as the complementarity between different policies and programmes are essential for successful implementation and achievement of the goals; whereas regional and local authorities play an important role in the promotion of democracy, decentralisation and greater local and regional autonomy;

B.  whereas the previous Baltic Sea and Danube strategies have brought tangible benefits for the regions involved, confirmed the success of EU cooperation mechanisms and provided useful experience for developing new macro-regional strategies;

C.  whereas the interest shown by regions in this modern form of regional cooperation and the accompanying governance model is on the rise; whereas this has especially been the case recently as regards mountain regions such as the Carpathians and the Alps, where natural barriers mean that specific regional policies need to be pursued;

D.  whereas a macro-regional strategy as an integrated framework relating to Member States and non-EU countries in the same geographical area and endorsed by the European Council, is an EU strategy;

E.  whereas there are large socio-economic differences between the countries involved in this strategy, especially between EU Member States and non-Member States;

F.  whereas the increased interest of countries in the Adriatic and Ionian Region in cooperation and defining joint actions to respond to the challenges by using potential throughout the region, and their continuous effort to achieve synergy, has led to the adoption of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR);

G.  whereas the macro-regional strategies may be seen as a tool of European integration and increased territorial cohesion based on voluntary cooperation among Member States and neighbouring countries in addressing common challenges; whereas the EUSAIR is a new form of regional cooperation which may assist participating candidate and potential candidate countries on their path towards the EU, and an important component of the broader Mediterranean policy of the EU as expressed through the Union for the Mediterranean; whereas the EUSAIR, as part of the EU regional policy, is a tool for promoting economic and social cohesion, with the principal objectives of reducing disparities between regions, promoting real convergence and encouraging growth and employment;

H.  whereas the Adriatic Sea, due to its semi-enclosed nature is especially vulnerable to pollution and has unusual hydrographic features such as the fact that the depth and coastline vary considerably between the north and south of the region; whereas fish stocks are shared among all the coastal countries, which puts regeneration of the stocks under sustained pressure; whereas measures within the future framework regulation on technical measures in the reformed CFP should be devised on a regional basis and tailor-made to the specificities of this area and its marine resources and fisheries;

General considerations

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication concerning the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region and the accompanying action plan; believes it is a vital step in the development of this part of Europe; stresses that the EUSAIR has been created to add value to interventions, whether by the EU, national or regional authorities or private sectors, in a way that significantly strengthens the functioning of the macro-region; highlights the strategy’s prospects for candidate and potential candidate countries in the region; underlines the importance of the strategy being based on the principles of integration, coordination, cooperation and partnership; reiterates the importance of the “three NOs” principle of no new legislation, no new institutions, no new funding, as macro-regions are frameworks for cooperation initiatives, building on synergies resulting from the articulation of different EU policy instruments, including the ESI Funds;

2.  Welcomes the efforts undertaken by all interested stakeholders in setting up an institutional architecture for the implementation of the EUSAIR within the existing institutional framework; encourages all national, regional and local stakeholders to take full ownership of the implementation of the projects covered by this macro-regional strategy; stresses the importance of strengthening the institutional capacity and efficiency of public administrations and public services and securing, in each participating country, sufficient resources and competent administrative personnel expressly dedicated to implementing the EUSAIR;

3.  Stresses the need for a place-based approach as regards the cooperation activities and highlights the added value of the multi-level governance model which needs to address the lack of administrative capacity and can be used to pool resources in the macro-region; insists, in this regard, that there is a need to include the local and regional authorities in the political managing bodies and in the operational, technical and implementing bodies of the strategy while maintaining the Commission’s role in the coordination process; stresses that community-led local development (CLLD) can mobilise and involve local actors in the decision-making process and help strengthen the ownership of projects at citizens’ level;

4.  Stresses the importance of a transparent process for adoption, monitoring and evaluation of the strategy, as well as of openness and inclusiveness towards civil society and all relevant stakeholders; emphasises that communication and awareness-raising across all pillars are essential for the participation of stakeholders in the decision-making process and for building public support; encourages the Member States to ensure the strategy has adequate visibility nationally, regionally and locally, to develop appropriate communication with regard to the strategy’s goals and results, and to promote coordination and exchanges of best practice with other existing and future macro-regional strategies;

5.  Highlights the need for non-EU countries to harmonise their legislation with specific sectoral acquis related to the strategy in order to ensure fulfilment of the EU goals and their regular, legal and timely implementation based on EU standards and legislation; encourages all the participating countries to establish think tanks and organise regular meetings to exchange best practices to secure this procedure and make it more efficient;

6.  Notes that, due to the steep fall in private investment across the countries in the region, coupled with fiscal consolidation and limited investment capacity in the public sector, problems may arise in financing projects under the strategy; calls on the participating countries to maintain a high degree of ownership, commitment and leadership necessary to successfully carry out the strategy;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for 2014-2020, and in particular the Adriatic Ionian Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 (ADRION), provide significant potential resources and a wide range of tools and technical options for the strategy; supports the fact that other funds and instruments relevant to the strategy pillars are available, in particular the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus Plus programmes in respect of all pillars, the Connecting Europe Facility in respect of Pillar II, the LIFE programme in respect of Pillar III, as well as in respect of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the COSME and Creative Europe programmes for SMEs in respect of Pillar IV, as well as the INNOVFIN programme for innovation funding; encourages cooperation, in order to create a synergy of available funds, between the monitoring committees of the territorial cooperation programmes which cover the region, the EUSAIR governing board and the ESIF managing authorities; stresses that the strategy should enable a more efficient and effective use of existing instruments and funds;

8.  Calls on the European Commission and national, regional and local bodies which are responsible for the preparation, management and implementation of ESIF programmes to stress the importance of macro-regional projects and actions;

9.  Stresses the importance of defining, at macro-regional level, the implementation structure and coordination mechanisms in order to facilitate cooperation including joint planning, alignment of funding opportunities and a bottom-up approach; underlines the need to align the national and regional operational programmes with the goals of the strategy, including, where possible, the incorporation of EUSAIR into the programmes; considers it necessary to coordinate and harmonise initiatives, proposals and projects which concern the Adriatic-Ionian Region;

10.  Encourages the Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the participating countries to fully exploit the possibilities available under the newly established European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) to finance projects in the region which would create added value, promote sustainable development and economic and social cohesion, spur growth and increase employment at the macro-regional level and contribute to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy; in this context, encourages the provision of ‘bonus points’ to macro-regional projects in the project selection phase due to their inherent transnational nature;

11.  Points out that there are no specific funds assigned just for the implementation of macro-regional strategies and that strong political will, partnership and coordination among the countries is a precondition for success; calls therefore on the countries in the region to bundle funds (ESI Funds, IPA, EFSI) as well as contributions from national sources under the EIB as a financial and investment platform for supporting the financing of projects contributing to the fulfilment of the goals of the strategy; calls for the creation of a transparent and publicly available project pipeline for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, which would make current and potential investment needs and projects visible so that investors are encouraged to invest in these projects;

12.  Urges stakeholders to exchange best practices, draw on experience gained and identify the bottlenecks in the implementation of other EU macro-regional strategies and to increase cooperation with their counterparts, such as those from the Baltic Sea, Danube Basin and Alpine macro-regions;

13.  Calls on the Commission to eliminate administrative and non-financial obstacles which often dissuade investors from investing in such projects;

14.  Considers it necessary to find ways to involve countries not included in the strategy and which are geographically and economically close to the region, at least on an individual and specific project basis; highlights in this context the importance of cross-border and trans-national cooperation under cohesion policy and invites the Members States and regions concerned to make use of the existing best practices in this area;

15.  Recalls the major impact of the economic crisis on the region and stresses the need for regular assessment of strategies designed to achieve economic recovery; points out that the countries in the region are at different levels of development and have different needs; calls on the Commission to underline the importance of creating the conditions for reducing socio-economic differences between the countries; supports reforms in less developed countries and encourages the exchange of knowledge, experience and practices in this context;

16.  Points out that it is necessary to encourage, renew and deepen cultural, scientific and educational cooperation, including by increasing the scope for academic mobility of students and university staff; stresses that science and innovation are a prerequisite for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth; emphasises the interdependence of scientific and cultural cooperation with the growth of economic dynamics and the level of diversity and sustainability of tourism within the region;

17.  Welcomes the European Parliament’s representation in the governing bodies of the EUSAIR; calls on the Commission to analyse the joint efforts of the countries in the region (EU Member States and third countries) and the effective participation of local and regional authorities in achieving the strategy’s objectives;

18.  Refers to precedents established in the context of other EU macro-regional strategies and calls for support to be given, within the framework of pilot projects and preparatory actions, to different types of actions ranging from studies to seed money for the preparation of projects under different priority areas;

19.  Considers it imperative that, in the implementation phase of the strategy, its general principles, and in particular matters relating to environmental protection and the enhancement of natural resources, should be taken into due consideration in all four pillars, also in order to take a holistic approach to the complex and varied challenges of the macro-region;

20.  Emphasises that particular attention should be given to areas referred to in Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, such as islands, mountainous and rural regions, with the aim of identifying and exploiting their specific potential, especially in the tourism sector, whilst respecting the areas for action and priorities identified in this report; calls, moreover, on the Commission to propose a European Year of Islands and Mountains;

21.  Considers it necessary to find ways for the participating countries to involve other important pillars that could create development benefits for the area, such as agriculture on account of specific geo-climatic conditions, bio-diversity and the potential to create synergic coordinated effects and further growth; recommends close cooperation and coordination among inland areas, the coastal area and the islands to achieve synergies between clean energy projects and healthy food production;

22.  Draws attention to the importance of adequate reporting and evaluation of the implementation of the strategy; calls, in this context, on the participating countries, together with the Commission, to gather reliable baseline data and establish concrete targets for each pillar which would be evaluated on a yearly basis and made publicly available;

23.  Calls for a comprehensive and integrated European approach to migration; emphasises that the region faces serious migration challenges and deplores all the tragedies in the Mediterranean; urges that in tackling these challenges a significant shift in asylum policies in terms of solidarity among Member States is essential; highlights the need to look at the overall strategy on cooperation with third countries; regrets the insufficient cooperation among EU Member States with regard to migratory challenges; encourages the exchange of good practices in receiving migrants and calls, as a matter of urgency, for special attention to be paid to the social and humanitarian issues affecting the region, with a view to a possible redefinition of the EUSAIR priorities in the future;

24.  Expects new impetus to be given to the strengthening of peace and security in South East Europe;

25.  Points out that new issues may emerge along the way and priorities may evolve, requiring actions and projects and their associated targets to be updated, transformed or replaced;

26.  Calls on countries to exchange best practices in the area of ​​respect for minority rights in order to apply the highest standards, given that this is a particularly sensitive area regarding linguistic issues;

27.  Stresses that, within the various stages of implementation, public and private economic players, members of society and the various components of organised civil society must be provided with appropriate training through a specific programme including organisational and technical support;

28.  Calls on the Commission to present a report on the implementation of EUSAIR to Parliament and the Council every two years, in order to assess its functioning and its added value in terms of growth and jobs, reducing disparities and sustainable development;

29.  Encourages specific measures to promote the social dimension; stresses the importance of incorporating priorities and measures which seek to support the inclusion of persons with disabilities and prevent all kinds of discrimination;

Blue growth

30.  Stresses that the region’s unique geographical position and specific coastline structure, together with its rich marine biodiversity, hold immense potential for the creation of ‘blue’ jobs and for innovative and sustainable economic development and growth, including blue technologies, fisheries and aquaculture, and better maritime and marine governance and services;

31.  Advocates the blue economy as a solution to the economic crisis, since it stimulates the creation of new jobs and economic development, and especially jobs for women and young people in coastal and island countries; believes that the EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region cannot be pursued without factoring in the concept of the blue economy, which links the economic sectors relating to seas and oceans, aquaculture, maritime and river transport and tourism to environmental protection;

32.  Calls on the Commission and the states involved in the strategy to provide incentives that attract young people to the field of fisheries and aquaculture in the Adriatic and Ionian region and encourage them to undertake such activities;

33.  Calls for policy coordination and harmonisation of the strategy’s goals, as well as common projects, in line with the values, principles and objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy; encourages, furthermore, support for the development of a sustainable fisheries sector and the production of traditional and healthy food; calls for the establishment of Fisheries Local Action Groups, which could represent a natural tool for diversifying fisheries; highlights the fact that sustainable and profitable fisheries and aquaculture require strengthened stakeholder involvement in the overall management, as well as improved and diversified fisheries activities;

34.  Takes the view that blue growth comprises highly diverse sectors and businesses and for this reason its development requires highly skilled labour in all those sectors; calls on Member States involved in EUSAIR to promote the various sectors of blue growth in their training programmes, taking into account lifelong-learning systems and training for employees; points out the complexity of the activities, sectors and disciplines of the socio-economic systems involved in blue growth, and therefore considers it extremely important that Member States involved in the EUSAIR strategy adopt labour market policies in order to increase the capacity to adapt to change, innovation and multidisciplinarity, adapt the training of human capital and increase the female participation rate;

35.  Stresses the importance of a greater and real interconnection between the EU 2020 strategy and the three pillars (especially the blue growth pillar) of the EUSAIR strategy based on the European Commission Action Plan; considers the Action Plan as one of the outputs of the strategy approach identifying the concrete priorities for the macro-region; points out that, on the basis of this, each action or project is selected by an extensive bottom-up consultation process involving a range of stakeholders from the Adriatic-Ionian Region representing national, regional and local authorities, social partners, but also the private sector, the social economy, academia and civil society;

36.  Encourages clustering and cooperation between public and private enterprises, universities, research institutes and other relevant stakeholders in the marine and maritime sectors with the aim of stimulating innovation and benefiting fully from synergies; considers that actions under the blue growth pillar should build on the national and regional research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation in order to secure more efficient and effective investments; calls on the countries and regions to participate in the Commission’s S3 Platform to benefit from assistance in the development, implementation and review of smart specialisation strategies; considers it necessary, in this context, to give SMEs better access to credit and to improve the existing business networks (clusters) through an internationalisation process, in order to create new quality and sustainable jobs;

37.  Supports the creation of a joint quality label for high-quality seafood products from the region in order to increase their competitiveness;

38.  Stresses the importance of social dialogue and of the involvement of civil society representatives in capacity-building activities alongside the public authorities; considers that this could be achieved by setting up a permanent platform at macro-regional level and at regional level in each Member State to represent the social and economic partners, in line with what has already been done for universities, chambers of commerce and cities;

39.  Stresses the importance of marine and maritime research and of stronger cooperation in these sectors among researchers, and among Member States and regions involved in the EUSAIR strategy, in order to overcome the existing gap between these Member States and to boost the competitiveness of coastal areas and the creation of quality and sustainable local jobs;

40.  Notes with concern the rate of fish stock depletion in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas as a result of overfishing, along with illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU), and other significant risks to all marine life; stresses that fisheries are one of the key components in the economies of the coastal areas and islands; deems it necessary, therefore, to consider the protection and preservation of fish stocks and marine ecosystems, in line with the principle of the maximum sustainable yield included in the common fisheries policy, to be a paramount objective of the strategy; underlines the need, in the transitional period, to support adjustment to fishing limits through subsidies for the purchase of equipment via the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF); calls for decisive action in the form of aligning third-country fisheries legislation with EU legislation, data sharing, joint monitoring platforms and multiannual fisheries management plans, and for consideration of how to develop a sustainable aquaculture sector with its great potential for being powered by renewable energy sources;

41.  Recalls that commercially exploited fish and shellfish should be within safe biological limits in order to achieve good environmental status and to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry;

42.  Calls on the Commission to register recreational fishing catch volumes, to regulate this activity and to make both recreational and professional fishing activities subject to MSY objectives;

43.  Urges comprehensive research on fish stocks, especially of endangered species, and their biological interconnection, given that the lack of exact data and a complete, detailed view of the status quo would make evaluations unclear and unreliable; urges the preservation of natural spawning;

44.  Calls for projects seeking to assess the impact of indirect fishing (ghost nets, mussel cultivation meshes) and by-catches of protected species to be evaluated and promoted, it being estimated that, in the Adriatic alone, over 40 000 sea turtles are caught accidentally; takes the view that environmental studies and studies on means of alleviating the problem (such as turtle excluder devices) are urgently necessary;

45.  Urges strong support for shipbuilding, including the leisure boat sector, focusing on its modernisation and specialisation in order to create jobs and adapt to the requirements of sustainable and competitive growth that is in line with blue technologies;

46.  Calls for strong support for manufacturing areas, twinning and cooperation between areas in different parts of the macro-region; encourages the exchange of good practices involving the most significant experiences in the sector and those of other regions which seek to take the same approach in order to promote the establishment of manufacturing areas;

47.  Underlines the importance of supporting and fostering recreational sport and family fishing together with integrated policies for fishing and tourism (fishing and fish tourism, mariculture), especially on the islands, in order to preserve the local cultural traditions and maritime lifestyles of islanders and small coastal sites; encourages sustainable, small-scale and traditional fishing and aquaculture, coupled with a diversified culinary offer and the promotion of local fish markets, as the best way to ensure sustainability and provide stronger support to coastal tourist activities;

48.  Calls on the Commission to support and promote the involvement of fisheries and fishery workers in projects such as those relating to cultural and heritage tourism, encompassing fisheries and the rediscovery of seafaring activities and traditional fishing grounds and occupations;

49.  Underlines the importance of the social economy and of female entrepreneurship for achieving the blue growth pillar and calls on the Member States involved in the EUSAIR strategy to encourage and support the participation of women in all the relevant sectors; recalls the fundamental role of small and micro enterprises in the regions and territories concerned and asks the Member States involved in EUSAIR to implement active policies for promoting such forms of economic activity;

50.  Supports measures to reduce the hydrogeological risk and the risk of coastal erosion;

51.  Encourages activities aimed at supporting the maritime professions that have suffered greater damage from the implementation of EU policies, for example by developing alternative projects to rediscover traditional crafts;

52.  Stresses the importance of research and calls for strong support for marine and maritime districts;

53.  Stresses that the development of aquaculture and mariculture can play an important role not only in the recovery of species diversity but also in the economic growth of the Adriatic and Ionian region;

54.  Calls on the Commission to intensify the exchange of good practices such as the sustainability of projects developed by the Coastal Action Groups;

Connecting the region

55.  Notes that better transport and energy connections among the participating countries as well as between them and their other neighbours, including maritime transport, intermodal connections to the hinterland and energy networks, are compelling needs for the macro-region and a precondition for its economic and social development; underlines the lack of connection between the two coasts on the Adriatic and the network infrastructure gap existing in the Adriatic-Ionian area;

56.  Calls for incentives to be provided for the establishment of sustainable transport links which reduce journey times, transport and logistic costs and externalities; calls for major strategic works related to the interchange between sea and land in order to create opportunities for intermodal transport between countries, contribute to cohesion, enhance the overall network and reduce road congestion and thus CO2 emissions; draws attention to the need to improve the maritime and port dimension of cabotage, of motorways of the sea and of cruises between the two shores of the Adriatic, both on the north-south and transversal east-west routes; points out the need for greater coordination to prevent maritime traffic congestion and to improve its management and control;

57.  Encourages the use of the regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions from maritime transport (Regulation (EU) 2015/757) for innovation and establishment of sustainable maritime transport in the macro-region by using alternative marine propulsion engines and fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in the transport sector;

58.  Underlines the importance of connecting maritime transport routes and ports with other parts of Europe and the relevance of interconnections with TEN-T corridors; calls on the participating countries to focus their efforts on implementing projects that are covered by the current TEN-T network and other interventions for its proposed extension to South-Eastern Europe/the Eastern Adriatic coast, and which are able to close the network gap existing in the Adriatic-Ionian area; invites the countries involved therefore to identify priority infrastructure projects of regional and European added value and suggests that attention be paid inter alia to:

(i) completing the Baltic-Adriatic corridor,

(ii) the North-South extension of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor,

(iii) the establishment of an Alpine-Western Balkans rail freight corridor,

(iv) a better connection between the Iberian peninsula, central Italy and the Western Balkans,

(v) implementing a road connection in the Balkan area between the port system and inside countries, as well as an interconnection with the Rhine-Danube corridor,

(vi) improving port facilities for better connections between the two coasts on the Adriatic, and the preparation of a joint strategy by the managing boards of the North Adriatic ports for the more comprehensive supply of import goods to Central Europe;

59.  Calls for the capacity of the existing infrastructure network to be optimised, with particular reference to the existing road and rail links in the macro-region, including ‘last-mile’ links; stresses the need to finalise the Adriatic-Ionian highway as soon as possible, which will give a boost to the economic and social development of the macro-region; recalls the importance of the new corridors that integrate highways, railways and other infrastructures on both sides of the Adriatic-Ionian area; points out the need for greater coordination to prevent maritime traffic congestion and to improve its management and control;

60.  Calls for the development of a high-speed railway infrastructure that will interconnect the macro-region and allow better connection with and within the EU; highlights the importance of improving the railway connectivity of the Adriatic and Ionian region, as well as between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic/Ionian coasts;

61.  Calls for the participating countries to improve their maritime, rail and air transport infrastructure, to develop motorways of the sea in the macro-region, combining intermodal transport means, especially for connecting the hinterland, and to improve transport logistics, putting the most advanced technologies to the best possible use and always ensuring a high level of safety and environmental sustainability; calls also on the participating countries to assess the possibilities to improve connectivity with e-mobility instruments which could facilitate an international electronic ticketing service;

62.  Underlines the lack of effective connection with the islands; urges the Commission and the Member States to facilitate better connections by exploring new coordinated and value-added options, optimising the use of freight and passenger routes and involving private and public stakeholders, in order to increase the quality of life, stop depopulation and make it possible to exploit socioeconomic opportunities in these areas; underlines the need to improve the islands’ internal communications and transport infrastructure for sustainable inland mobility; stresses also the need to ensure adequate healthcare and educational programmes for island populations throughout the year;

63.  Calls for the implementation of major projects to develop intermodal links on the islands, and in particular wishes to see strong support for enhancing strategically important airports, such as Catania airport, in terms both of infrastructure and of new routes to other regions in the macro-region;

64.  Urges the participating countries to continue their efforts to diversify energy supply sources, a process which will not only improve the energy security of the macro-region but will also increase competition and combat energy poverty, which will have important benefits for the economic and social development of the region; emphasises the need for thorough assessments of the environmental impact of interventions in the energy sector; underlines the importance of the common planning for investment in the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and missing gas pipeline networks in the macro-region, thereby helping to achieve enhanced independence and energy security; encourages, furthermore, measures to increase energy and resource efficiency, thus also contributing to competitiveness;

65.  Encourages the development of energy infrastructure capable of reducing the carbon footprint, increasing energy efficiency and guaranteeing the energy security of the macro-region and beyond; highlights furthermore the importance of developing and promoting the concept of Smart Cities in order to provide added value to the current overall energy infrastructure of the macro-region;

66.  Recognises the high potential of underused renewable energy sources in the macro-region; calls for the exploitation of available renewable sources such as solar, wind, tidal (when technically feasible) and wave energy within the energy production mix; underlines the sustainability and competitiveness of potential hydropower plants in all participating countries; calls on the participating countries to contribute to the setting-up of a well-functioning and interconnected gas and electricity market in the macro-region that will ensure equal access to cheap and affordable energy; stresses the importance of strengthening cross-border energy interconnections underpinning investment in the energy sector as a key precondition for integration into the EU's energy network, as well as the removal of barriers to cross-border investment in the energy sector;

67.  Supports joint planning and investment in energy infrastructure for both the production and transport of electricity and gas in the macro-region, in accordance with the TEN-E network, implementing the concrete projects mentioned in the list of Projects of Energy Community Interest (PECIs);

68.  Expresses concern at the renewed impulse given to the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas offshore and on land, which could expose the macro-region to the risk of disasters with very serious consequences for the environment, economy, including the fisheries sector, and public health; stresses that any such activity must be in line with the Union’s climate and renewable energy rules and guidelines; emphasises that the Adriatic is a closed, shallow sea, which lacks the capacity to disperse pollutants and has a flourishing tourist trade on both its shores, and that the macro-region’s growth should first depend on tourism and on economic activities linked to its specific environmental features and ecosystems; underlines the need for consistent implementation of EU legislation and international conventions on environmental sustainability and the safety of maritime activities; calls for the full implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/53/EC) and of the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Directive (2013/30/EU);

69.  Calls for the formulation of common European transport safety standards in the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region;

70.  Stresses the need to promote cross-border air services through the implementation of joint projects designed to secure and enhance links within the macro-region;

Environmental quality

71.  Recalls the richness of the marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystems of the participating countries; notes that the Adriatic Sea is home to nearly half (49%) of all recorded Mediterranean marine species and is the most unusual subregion of the Mediterranean due to its shallowness, restricted flows, and the large influence of rivers; calls for joint efforts in taking all possible measures, such as the use of clean fuels for maritime transport and logistics, in order to preserve the biodiversity of the marine environment and the transnational terrestrial habitats as well as to prevent and reduce the pollution of the sea and other threats to coastal and marine biodiversity; stresses the importance of protecting endangered marine and terrestrial species, such as Mediterranean monk seals, olms, lynxes, griffon vultures and others, and calls on the participating countries to implement proportionate measures to fulfil this objective;

72.  Calls for the exchange of best practices between participating countries in the field of managing the natural and cultural heritage, including Natura 2000 areas and UNESCO sites, with the intention of creating sustainable tourist attractions;

73.  Urges all the participating countries to join forces in implementing maritime spatial planning, in accordance with Directive 2014/89/EU establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, and integrated coastal management, involving various stakeholders (national, regional and local authorities, local population, research community, NGOs, etc.); considers that proper joint governance of the maritime space provides an important framework for the sustainable and transparent use of maritime and marine resources;

74.  Calls on the Commission, given that an increase in maritime activity is progressively restricting fishing grounds, to make sure that the interests of the sectors concerned are taken into account in an equitable way at every stage in the development of maritime activities, namely when designing maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management;

75.  Highlights the importance of protecting and preserving the rivers and lakes in the Adriatic-Ionian basin;

76.  Points out the need to tackle responsibly historical and trans-border pollution and to clean up the sites affected by the industrial contamination of soil, water and air, and, where applicable, by pollution resulting from military conflicts; supports all active measures for the reduction of the pollution of the sea from chemical and conventional weapons; supports the reduction, with a goal of elimination, of marine litter, in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, in particular regarding waste pollution in the Adriatic islands;

77.  Is concerned about the damage caused by plastic waste at sea; calls on the Commission to support initiatives to collect and recycle this waste; stresses the importance of involving fishermen in the process;

78.  Calls on countries to develop and implement comprehensive plans to reuse obsolete industrial and military sites; stresses that these sites not only pose a threat to the environment but also offer significant economic potential which is not being exploited;

79.  Calls for encouraging the relocation of industry from urban centres and coastal areas with the aim of improving the quality of life;

80.  Insists that all existing tools be used in implementing the best waste management and wastewater treatment solutions in the region, in line with Council Directive 91\271\EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment in the EU Member States;

81.  Draws attention to the various natural and man-made disasters that have hit the region in the last years; draws attention to the problem of deforestation and other climate change-related risks; stresses the need to apply in full the horizontal principles for natural disaster risk management and climate change adaptation with a view to implementing the action plan and the priorities of each pillar; encourages cooperation between the countries’ hydrometeorological institutes in tackling extreme weather events, climate change consequences, and disaster risk management; recognises water, agriculture and tourism as the sectors most vulnerable to climate change, therefore encourages cooperation between national authorities in order to establish a framework and a support mechanism for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures;

82.  Underlines the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in particular in the marine transport sector;

83.  Stresses that there is a problem with the geographic and seasonal disparities in accessibility to water reserves, with a marked shortage of water on the islands and in the coastal area during the summer when water demands become several times higher due to the arrival of a large number of tourists;

84.  Urges the establishment of a regional centre for disaster preparedness together with a joint contingency plan for oil spills and large-scale pollution events, in order to create an early warning system to prevent natural disasters and those caused by industrial, transport and other activities, such as floods, fires and exploitation activities in the Adriatic; emphasises that the centre should be directly linked to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism; stresses the importance of preserving the ecosystem and the biodiversity of the region through better understanding and the exchange of best practices;

85.  Calls on the non-EU countries to accelerate the implementation of the sectoral acquis (such as the Water Framework Directive) with a view to their future accession to the Union;

86.  Urges the Member States to consult the competent authorities of neighbouring countries and local communities in the macro-region, particularly with regard to economic activities subject to Environmental Impact Assessments in accordance with Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment;

Sustainable and competitive tourism

87.  Underlines the crucial importance of tourism for the European economy and the development of social cohesion within the EU, especially for the Mediterranean countries and for the region as a whole; stresses the need to develop new approaches to help offset seasonality in line with the impact and sustainability of tourism on the environment; urges more support for the financing of tourism projects from the ESIF and other sources;

88.  Urges the urgent improvement of cross-border road connections in order to enhance the competitiveness of tourism, given that poor connectivity causes traffic bottlenecks and long delays; underlines the need to improve, for tourism purposes, the existing air infrastructure and the maritime connection between the two coasts of the Adriatic;

89.  Stresses the need to encourage the use of existing airports in the macro-region in order to avoid the excessive concentration of passengers in a few airport hubs and promote sustainable and more balanced tourist flows in various locations;

90.  Recognises the rich cultural and natural heritage (including cultural activities such as cinema, theatre and music) of the region as a strong asset, which the tourism sector builds upon; points out the large number of protected UNESCO sites and Natura 2000 areas in all participating countries; considers that, despite the significant contribution of this sector to the economy, the tourism potential is not being fully exploited, in particular owing to high seasonality and lacks in the areas of innovation, sustainability, transport infrastructure, the quality of the tourism offer, the skills of participating stakeholders and responsible tourism management; calls on the participating countries to adopt policies ensuring adequate connections and tourist facilities both during and outside the summer season so as to diversify tourist flows and ensure a constant tourist presence in every season; stresses the importance of combining tourism with the natural, cultural and artistic heritage;

91.  Encourages Member States to promote sustainable mobility solutions in the tourism sector, thus improving the quality of tourist services and enhancing its range;

92.  Recognises the importance of national and nature parks and of protected areas as the foundations for the future education of citizens in matters relating to environmental protection and combatting climate change;

93.  Stresses that cooperation between countries is essential for the further development of tourism in the region; encourages the formulation of tourism strategies for the Adriatic Sea and for the Ionian Sea which are based on sustainability and enable the countries to benefit from synergies and to address common challenges at the macro-regional level; considers it necessary to work together to raise the profile of destinations in the Adriatic-Ionian region;

94.  Urges the European Commission, the participating countries and the local and regional authorities to take measures that incentivise stakeholders to improve the tourism infrastructure;

95.  Underlines the importance of supporting cultural and creative activities and in particular the development and integration of business activities in the fields of music, theatre, dance and films; calls for the organisation of festivals, conventions and cultural events that promote integration;

96.  Draws attention to the need to allow SMEs easier access to support and finance as they are instrumental for the tourism sector; encourages stakeholders in the region to participate in the Enterprise Europe Network in order to share experience, network and find cross-border partners;

97.  Stresses the importance of Smart Specialisation and Smart Communities projects involving the exploitation of existing innovation platforms, such as the creation of an Adriatic-Ionian area of creativity;

98.  Supports the development of a diversified tourism offer including thematic tourist parks and routes, and cultural, rural, health, medical, nautical, enogastronomic, conference and sport tourism, including cycling, golf, diving, hiking, skiing, mountaineering and outdoor sports, in order to promote tourism throughout the year and to improve the competitiveness of tourist destinations, based on sustainability; supports the development of rural tourism in order to reduce the pressure on major tourism centres and the narrow coastal area and to help overcome seasonality; supports the expansion of tourist activities towards the hinterland with the creation of integrated tourism products which include the main attractions of the macro-region and those of its capitals;

99.  Stresses the importance of coherence between tourism management and infrastructure and the need to improve the quality and diversity of services and opportunities, taking account of the specific characteristics of the region; stresses also the importance of promoting and preserving local and regional traditions;

100.  Stresses the importance of exploring alternative routes and business models and improving the linkage of cruise packages to local people and products, thus allowing unsustainable congestion to be tackled more effectively and better exploitation of the full potential, with more lasting economic benefits for local economies; recognises the importance of developing and branding macro-regional tourism routes, through the mapping and further promotion of existing routes;

101.  Advocates exploitation of the most representative assets of the area for the purposes of tourism and the development of promotional and marketing programmes;

102.  Stresses the need for genuine transport intermodality using an integrated network of services and intersections with a view to developing quality eco-tourism;

103.  Calls for the drafting of an Adriatic-Ionian Charter containing criteria, principles and guidelines for the promotion of sustainable tourism through implementation of the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) for the assessment of tourist destinations with a view to improving their sustainable development;

104.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the EUSAIR participating countries (Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia).

(1)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.

(2)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 259.

(3)

OJ C 349 E, 29.11.2013, p. 1.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Background

The European Council of December 2012 invited the Commission to present a new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) before the end of 2014. The Commission has duly delivered on this request and presented the EUSAIR on 17 June 2014.

The EUSAIR comes as a third EU macro-regional strategy and is positioned well to benefit from lessons and experiences of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. It builds upon existing cooperation in the region, mainly the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative started in 2000 with signing of the Ancona Declaration and the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion established in 2006 with 26 regional and local authorities from seven countries as members. The EUSAIR covers eight countries equally represented by EU Member States (Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia) and non-EU countries all of which have either ‘candidate’ (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia) or ‘potential candidate’ membership status (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The region is home to more than 70 million people and plays a key role in strengthening geographical continuity in Europe.

The region’s turbulent past is marked by events which had devastating and long-lasting effects on development and cooperation between the countries. More recently, the economic crisis has had a major impact on the region. Unemployment and indebtedness are reaching unprecedented heights with countries having to resort to painful budget cuts and fiscal consolidation. Economic recovery and growth in the ailing economies are hampered by falling investments, both public and private.

In this context, the EUSAIR provides an exceptional opportunity for the countries in the region to turn a page on past economic and political problems by working together, with the Commission’s guidance, to pursue prosperity and sustainable development.

The timing of the EUSAIR is ideal for two reasons, both stemming from policy shifts at the EU level. Firstly, the Juncker Commission has decided to focus its orientation towards boosting investment via the Investment Plan and the resulting European Fund for Strategic Investments. For the countries in the Adriatic and Ionian region this represents a great opportunity to fill the investment gap experienced in the recent years. The EUSAIR provides an opportunity to steer these investments in a way to achieve results to the benefit of the entire region. Secondly, the Commission has repeatedly stated that there will be no new enlargement in the near future. Although this comes as bad news for the Western Balkans countries, the EUSAIR will enable them to make a step closer to the EU by aligning their policies and working closely with Member States.

The potential of the Adriatic and Ionian region is vast and can be unlocked only by joint and coordinated efforts from all the countries in the region with significant participation of local and regional authorities. The Commission, together with the EIB and other international actors, will need to play a special role by providing guidance and support in the implementation of the strategy. Your rapporteur is confident that the EUSAIR will prove to have a historic importance for both the participating countries as well as the EU as a whole.

Priorities and proposals

As a result of several months of discussions with the stakeholders of the strategy at the EU, national, regional and local levels of the countries involved, the following development priorities, ideas and proposals have emerged:

Pillar I - Blue growth (marine fisheries, aquaculture, blue technologies, maritime and marine governance and services)

-  Adapting to a resource efficient fisheries and boosting seafood production and consumption;

-  Improvement of the business environment and strengthening of competitiveness of maritime industry through institutional and infrastructural support;

-  Support to research and development and applied innovations in maritime industry and boosting blue research, innovation and skills;

-  Investment in human resource development;

-  Macro-regional cluster development - “Green shipbuilding clusters in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas” - encourage the use of new materials and bio-technology in order to reduce pressures on the environment caused by technological operations in shipbuilding, ship repair and yachts maintenance;

-  Improving access to finance and promoting start-ups – “Adriatic-Ionian Blue Financing”;

-  Governance of maritime space - “Maritime governance and services task force”, “Implementing coordinated Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)” - establish a legal basis for the Sea Spatial Plan, considering the possibilities of changes in the legislation in order to establish standards regulating the implementation of the plan;

-  Maritime skills - “Maritime skills circulation”;

-  Governance of maritime space - “Maritime governance and services task force”;

-  Data and knowledge sharing - Adriatic-Ionian data cloud supporting maritime governance and services”;

-  Institutional capacity to harmonise maritime standards and regulations - “MSP and ICM training and mutual support”;

-  Linking tourism and fisheries - most of the coastal population living from fishing and tourism;

-  Fishing in a sustainable manner - use of small scale vessels, use of selective gear;

-  Establishment of marine protected areas - would ensure sustainable fisheries;

-  Providing of engines that do not pollute the environment;

-  Establishment of small family run processing plants, because in this way the population living from fishing activities can get more value through a complete final product;

-  Connecting better the countries, making joint plans and regulation of fisheries markets;

-  Integration and adoption of regional long-term fisheries plans, especially when it comes to the divisible resources;

-  EU compliance and common standards and practices - “EU compliance in the field of fishery”, “Development of common standards in the field of aquaculture”;

-  Diversification and profitability of fisheries and aquaculture - “Anti-crisis network for sea food industries”, “Improvement and diversification of fishing activities”, “Sustainable aquaculture site location and management” – to improve the development platform in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in order to increase productivity and quality of environmental performance through the development of activities that enable integration of fisheries and tourist attractions, the development of aquaculture in a way that enables coexistence with other activities and establishing sustainable and environmentally friendly location for fisheries and marine culture;

-  Increasing production and promotion of aquaculture in terms of reducing the negative impact of fishing on existing fish stocks and protecting spawning, such as the one nearby Jabuka Island in Croatia;

-  Linking tourism and aquaculture as compatible activities;

-  Using spatial planning in aquaculture, based in common principles and practices - AZA concept

-  Improving the competitiveness of aquaculture industry: promoting research and development cooperation, diversification of the sector (new species, new techniques, organic aquaculture);

-  Promote traditional forms of aquaculture fully integrated into the natural area, use of natural materials for farming, cultivation of autochthonous species;

-  Aquaculture collaboration in the macro-region, making joint plans in terms better market competitiveness;

-  More effective business environment for companies and investors;

-  Enhanced business cooperation between companies in the region;

-  Removing obstacles to economic activity by companies in the EU single market;

-  Promoting the transfer of new technologies in the economic and public spheres and promoting technological progress of society;

-  Preserving the national fisheries sectors (particularly its traditional forms of fishing) and the aquaculture sector as part of implementing the Common Fisheries Policy;

Pillar II - Connecting the region (maritime transport, intermodal connection to the hinterland, energy networks)

-  The North-South extension of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor to the stretch Ancona-Pescara-Bari and of the Baltic corridor to the Adriatic coast, and to better connect the Iberian peninsula to central Italy and to the Balkans;

-  Systematic enhancement of transport infrastructure by reconstructing, upgrading or building of new infrastructure, such as Messina and Pelješac bridge projects and others;

-  Competitiveness in the transport services market in line with EU regulations;

-  Development of national systems in order to support public/collective transport and increasing the attractiveness of public transport in all transport modules;

-  Implementation of public-private partnerships in transport operations;

-  Long-term planning of transport security programmes, especially in road transport;

-  Improvement of systems in border crossings;

-  Improving hinterland connections of seaports to TEN-T and enforcing the development of intermodality in the Adriatic-Ionian region;

-  Reducing isolation of islands and remote areas by improving their access to transport and energy services;

-  Construction of the appropriate energy infrastructure;

-  Diversification of sources and supply routes for the wider region aimed at energy networking of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region into the European energy space;

-  Clustering port activities/services throughout the region - examples of possible projects: sharing strategic functions and harmonising ports processes through a common Intelligent Transport System (ITS), building e.g. on the North Adriatic Port Association (NAPA) initiative (Trieste, Koper, Venice and Rijeka) and on the APC - Adriatic Port Community (APC) project (Venice, Ploče and Igoumenitsa);

-  Improving and harmonising traffic monitoring and management;

-  Developing ports, optimising port interfaces, infrastructure, procedures/operations;

-  Developing the Western Balkans comprehensive network;

-  Improving the accessibility of the coastal areas and islands;

-  Developing motorways of the sea;

-  Railway reform;

-  Development of air transport;

-  Cross-border facilitation;

-  The route of transnational corridors on the national territory (motorways of the sea, Mediterranean and Baltic-Adriatic TEN-T core network corridor);

-  Improving maritime transport safety, information systems, raising awareness of the maritime situation for a more effective use of human resources, equipment and vessels, more effective response to challenges in maritime safety and the pollution of marine environment;

-  Coordination of major connecting infrastructural projects in the Adriatic region between countries;

Pillar III - Environmental quality (the marine environment, transnational terrestrial habitats and biodiversity)

-  Reducing anthropogenic eutrophication resulting from point and diffuse sources by investing in the water sector (construction of wastewater treatment plans for domestic and industrial wastewaters and corresponding sludge disposal facilities and upgrading the sewerage network) and organic farming (agriculture) in coastal area;

-  Protected and restored biodiversity and ecosystem by ensuring proper monitoring, information and management system for Natura 2000 and securing sustainable management of nature;

-  Reducing the impact of marine litter on the environment through better waste management in coastal areas and cleaning programmes;

-  Facilitating coordinated preservation and sustainable development of coastal zones in the region by ratifying and implementing the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol of the Barcelona Convention;

-  Promoting and achieving the sustainable development of the maritime and coastal economies and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources through maritime spatial planning;

-  Increasing marine knowledge – improve availability and timeliness of data on the state of biodiversity on land and sea;

-  Enhancing the network of Marine Protected Area – build capacity to implement ecosystem access and mapping of areas important for the conservation of species and habitat types in the priority sites, as well as establishment of protected areas in the sea;

-  Supporting clean-up programmes;

-  Identifying hotspots regarding marine environment;

-  Exchanging best practices among managing authorities of Marine Protected Areas;

-  Drafting and implementation of a joint contingency plan;

-  Ensure prioritization of investments to reflect the contribution to reducing pollution of the sea;

-  Harmonization and enforcement of national laws regarding terrestrial habitats and biodiversity - harmonize legislation in the field of urban planning, protection of nature, environment and cultural heritage with the European Landscape Convention;

-  Protection and restoration of coastal wetland areas and karst fields;

-  Connection between, and upgrading of, national monitoring to an early warning system to reduce the risk of flooding/wave action, pollution, fire, etc.;

-  Connecting/setting up the system of monitoring the marine environment status and connecting/setting up measures to protect the marine environment at the level of (sub) regions with a view to attaining a good ecological situation regarding issues that cannot be resolved by monitoring/measures within the scope of national provisions (e.g. treaties such as the Barcelona Convention with protocols, European directives – Marine Strategy Framework Directive, etc.);

Pillar IV - Sustainable and competitive tourism (diversified tourism offer, sustainable and responsible tourism management)

-  Diversification of tourism products and offer with the aim of overcoming seasonality - transnational thematic routes, valorisation of cultural and natural heritage through tourism, building new touristic infrastructure (e.g. thematic parks, golf courses), branding of tourism products and services in the macro-region, promotion of the region on the world markets, promotion aimed at specific target groups (e.g. seniors, or convention and business tourism), positioning of the region as an excellent destinations during the low season;

-  Enhancing quality and innovation in the tourism - ICT, education, technological transfers, networking of business subjects, clusters, exchange of examples of good practice, connecting the sectors of local agriculture, tourism and food supply, innovative promotion/marketing;

-  Sustainable and responsible tourism management - diversification of nautical and cruise tourism, sustainable R&D platform of new products and services, development of sustainable thematic tourist routes, mapping of existing thematic tourist routes, valorisation of natural and cultural heritage, networking of sustainable tourism companies and clusters, energy efficiency, smart specialization in tourism;

-  Improving the accessibility of tourism products and services - improving specific services and skills, staff training, promotion and availability of information, cooperation with the aim to facilitate the travel of tourists, the harmonization of national statistics aimed at easier measuring of the effects of sector and future planning and policy-making;

-  More efficient use of the EU funds - facilitating access to financing new, sustainable and innovative start-ups and SMEs focused on the research, which will result in new products and services in the sector and raising quality;

-  Initiative to improve quality for sustainable tourism offer – make necessary changes in the regulations;

-  Network of sustainable tourism businesses and clusters;

-  Training in vocational and entrepreneurial skills in tourism – encouraging diversification of tourist products and offers;

-  Adriatic-Ionian cooperation for facilitating tourist circulation;

Other priorities:

-  Integration of Western Balkan countries into the EU;

-  Ensuring coherence between all three EU macro-regional strategies;

-  Ensuring the necessary coherence of projects of macro-regional strategies with nationals strategic projects;

Adriatic-Ionian Cooperation Programme 2014-2020

Adriatic-Ionian Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 (ADRION) is a programme within the second goal of the Cohesion Policy - European Territorial Cooperation. The programme includes four EU Member States (Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia) and four IPA countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia). For the period 2014-2020, the overall ADRION programme budget amounts to 118.154.690 EUR including European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (EUR 83.467.729), the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) (EUR 15.688.887) and national contributions (EUR 18.998.074). The Cooperation Programme (programming document) defining investment areas of the ADRION programme is currently being negotiated with the European Commission and is planned to be adopted by the end of 2015. The overall objective of the programme is to act as a policy driver and governance innovator fostering European integration among Member and non-EU Member states, utilising the rich natural, cultural and human resources surrounding the Adriatic and Ionian seas and enhancing economic, social and territorial cohesion in the programme area.

Currently the following four thematic objectives and five investment priorities have been selected and proposed to be financed out of the ADRION programme:

-  Innovative and smart region (Thematic Objective 1, Investment Priority 1b) with the Specific Objective: Support the development of a regional Innovation system for the Adriatic-Ionian area”;

-  Sustainable region (Thematic Objective 6, Investment Priority 6c) with the Specific Objective: Promote the sustainable valorisation and preservation of natural and cultural assets as growth assets in the Adriatic-Ionian area; (Thematic Objective 6, Investment Priority 6d) with the Specific Objective: Enhance the capacity in transnationally tackling environmental vulnerability, fragmentation and the safeguarding of ecosystem services in the Adriatic-Ionian area;

-  Connected region (Thematic Objective 7, Investment Priority 7c) with the Specific Objective: Enhance capacity for integrated transport and mobility services and multimodality in the Adriatic-Ionian area;

-  Supporting the governance of the EUSAIR (Thematic Objective 11) with the Specific Objective: Facilitate the coordination and implementation of the EUSAIR by enhancing institutional capacity of public administrations and key stakeholders and by assisting the progress of implementation of joint priorities.

The EUSAIR governance structure is responsible for the management and the implementation of the strategy. The countries involved in the EUSAIR take their share of responsibility for implementation and coordination of the strategy. ADRION programme shall support the governance and the implementation of EUSAIR mainly under TO11 by establishing an operational tool - the Facility Point based in coastal region of Slovenia and its network of Liaison Points in Partner States - relying on existing structures.


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (16.7.2015)

for the Committee on Regional Development

on an EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region

(2014/2214(INI))

Rapporteur: Dubravka Šuica

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on Regional Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Stresses the strategic importance of promoting the European integration and enlargement process, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations with the tools and means of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR); expects new impetus to be given to strengthening peace, social cohesion, economic development, environmental sustainability and security in South East Europe;

2.  Takes the view that democratic, transparent, stable and good governance mechanisms are crucial in order to provide strategic direction, take key decisions and oversee effective implementation of the EUSAIR; supports the strengthening of the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society and private businesses, in the implementation process; considers it important to ensure adequate visibility of the EUSAIR at all levels; calls for close cooperation with relevant European organisations and programmes, including on the social and migration challenges affecting the region, with particular regard to the South East Europe 2020 Strategy; calls for the duplication or overlapping of activities to be avoided; calls for joint projects and synergies to be developed, in particular, with the Central European Initiative (CEI), the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM);

3.  Considers it essential that the EUSAIR contribute to the EU accession process of the Western Balkan countries by providing them with opportunities for close cooperation with EU Member States and by addressing common regional challenges; encourages the inclusion of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo in the EUSAIR; encourages the development of synergies and coordinated policies among the EU, the relevant Member States and the Western Balkan countries; welcomes the regular Western Balkans Six Prime Ministers meetings and encourages their coordinated action on regional issues; considers it important that the South-East European countries tackle issues of corruption, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

4.  Calls for the Western Balkan countries to be fully and effectively involved in all steps of EUSAIR’s implementation and for them to improve their connectivity among themselves and with the rest of the EU, including by simplifying existing administrative burdens, with the aim of accelerating sustainable economic growth and people-to-people contacts, including the Adriatic-Ionian Corridor; stresses the strategic importance of the Adriatic-Ionian Corridor and calls for these countries’ significant disparities and deficits in infrastructure to be tackled, in particular as regards road and rail networks, intermodal connections, traffic management systems and energy infrastructure; calls for the completion of the remaining stretches of the Trans-European transport corridors in South‑East Europe, including Corridors V, VI, VIII and X, which will improve the overall connectivity of the region with the EU Member States; encourages speeding up the continuation of the Pelješac bridge construction and of the Adriatic-Ionian Highway in order to facilitate connectivity;

5.  Calls for further support for common energy projects such as the Ionian-Adriatic pipeline (IAP) in order to increase security of supply; calls for shared and sustainable governance of fundamental and common resources, such as the Adriatic and Ionian seas and fisheries resources; calls for the implementation of smart regional development strategies and projects focused on green economy and social inclusion;

6.  Calls on the Commission, including its DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, to seek, through coherence and complementarity, the most efficient use of all available financing instruments in order to optimise impact, to achieve better results and to encourage sustainable economic growth; is of the opinion that the financing instruments should also be employed in such a way as to stimulate additional private investment; calls for new fund coordination mechanisms to be put in place to sustain EUSAIR flagships projects;

7.  Regrets the fact that the EUSAIR inadequately addresses issues of growing concern such as trafficking in human beings and cross-border crime; while noting that criminal traffic passes through this part of Europe, calls for cross-border crime and any kind of trafficking to be included as components in the EUSAIR;

8.  Stresses that irregular migration should also be included as a component in the EUSAIR; calls for more attention to be given to social cohesion and local development, as basic dimensions for integration of migrants, and for strengthening asylum capacities;

9.  Strongly believes that the EUSAIR must take into account the strategic importance of the region for the EU´s energy security, especially for the diversification of sources and supply routes; emphasises that investment in energy interconnections is a key precondition for the integration of the region into the EU´s energy network; bearing in mind the high environmental vulnerability of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, calls for full respect of the relevant EU acquis; calls for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency to be strengthened and for energy infrastructure to be developed, particularly in the more remote and/or less well-connected areas;

10.  Stresses the need to deepen the parliamentary dimension of the EUSAIR; encourages participating countries to further develop interparliamentary cooperation, including on the monitoring of the implementation of the EUSAIR and on promoting approximation to the EU acquis; recommends broadening parliamentary involvement beyond the annual Speakers’ Conference with the aim of strengthening parliamentary oversight;

11.  Calls on the Commission to regularly inform and consult Parliament on the impact achieved through the implementation of the EUSAIR.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

15.7.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

52

9

1

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Petras Auštrevičius, Amjad Bashir, Bas Belder, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Mario Borghezio, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, James Carver, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Javier Couso Permuy, Arnaud Danjean, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Iveta Grigule, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Afzal Khan, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Andrey Kovatchev, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Arne Lietz, Barbara Lochbihler, Sabine Lösing, Andrejs Mamikins, Tamás Meszerics, Javier Nart, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Vincent Peillon, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Sofia Sakorafa, Alyn Smith, Charles Tannock, László Tőkés, Elena Valenciano, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Boris Zala

Substitutes present for the final vote

Angel Dzhambazki, Neena Gill, Andrzej Grzyb, Marek Jurek, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Urmas Paet, Dubravka Šuica, István Ujhelyi, Traian Ungureanu, Bodil Valero, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Janusz Zemke

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Fabio De Masi, Axel Voss, Ivan Štefanec


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (03.8.2015)

for the Committee on Regional Development

on an EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region

(2014/2214(INI))

Rapporteur: Marco Affronte

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Regional Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

–  having regard to Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA)(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment(4),

1.  Recognises the essential link between economic development and environmental sustainability while taking into account the principle of subsidiarity; supports the promotion of economic and social prosperity in the region, which should not be pursued to the detriment of the ecological balance and biodiversity of the fragile coastal and marine ecosystems and their natural resources; highlights the need to include in the EUSAIR concrete actions to protect the environment, including projects:

  (a)  to protect the coastline and the coastal ecosystem and to combat erosion,

  (b)  to support climate change adjustment activities and risk management projects in order to prevent human- and non-human-related natural disasters,

  (c)  to promote the implementation of quality waste management, wastewater treatment and prevention systems in the field of water resources,

  (d)  to launch surveys and comparative studies on subsidence;

2.  Advocates for the blue economy as a solution to the economic crisis, since it stimulates the creation of new jobs and economic development, and especially jobs for women and young people in coastal and island countries; believes that the EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region cannot be pursued without factoring in the concept of the blue economy, which links the economic sectors relating to seas and oceans, aquaculture, maritime and river transport and tourism to environmental protection;

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that third countries involved in projects in the macro-region comply with the relevant Union acquis in order to guarantee sustainable exploitation of the Union’s resources; recommends that agreements and conventions be used to involve countries outside the EU in European Union environmental projects; notes also that good governance mechanisms are crucial for the implementation of environmental policy;

4.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate regular dialogue between EUSAIR and Scottish partners so each can be informed of good practices and the innovative approach to integrated coastal zone management in the North Sea;

5.  Recommends the Member States to exchange experiences and good practices in relation to the Danube macro-region;

6.  Calls on the Commission to regularly inform and consult Parliament about the results of the implementation of EUSAIR;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the states participating in the strategy to develop common projects in line with the common fisheries policy;

8.  Considers the coastline and stretch of sea between the Adriatic shore of Italy and the Balkan shore to be a natural area and environment of extraordinary value which should be protected and its profile raised;

9.  With this in mind, views the supplementing of the road and transport infrastructures on both sides of the Adriatic Sea, their inclusion in the north-south and east-west TEN-T networks and corridors and completion of the links missing to be a prerequisite for attaining the environmental sustainability goals of the macro-region;

10.  Recommends the active promotion of eco-innovation in the areas of fishing, aquaculture, maritime transport, tourism including cruising tourism, ports and related infrastructures, in order to exploit the important potential of the region and to stimulate blue growth thus creating new jobs and to ensure the rational and sustainable exploitation of marine resources in accordance with the Integrated Maritime Policy; supports the promotion of innovative, efficient and sustainable maritime freight and passenger transport services that can reduce transit times, transport and logistic costs and externalities and, above all, CO2 emissions, and which dovetail with the adoption of low environmental impact mobility plans;

11.  Calls on the Commission to promote the development of fisheries activities that are sustainable environmentally and in terms of the preservation of fish stocks, and also to promote integrated fisheries and tourism policies (fisheries tourism, mariculture, recreational fishing), in line with the principle of sustainability;

12.  Recalls that commercially exploited fish and shellfish should be within safe biological limits in order to achieve good environmental status and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry;

13.  Encourages the expansion of conservation areas to protect the environment and halt biodiversity loss, particularly through the enhancement of the Natura 2000 and Emerald networks, and the LIFE programme; highlights the importance of the preservation of endangered species and calls upon relevant Member States to implement through this macro-regional strategy proportionate measures to fulfil this objective; encourages Member States to invest further efforts in combating marine littering, in particular regarding waste pollution in the Adriatic islands;

14.  Stresses the need for a comprehensive plan to combat sea pollution and the natural and man-made hazards and risks caused by climate change mainly flooding, drought, soil erosion and forest fires;

15.  Stresses that pressure on marine and coastal ecosystems can be reduced through better understanding of biodiversity and that exchange of best practices between their managing authorities further enhances biodiversity;

16.  Calls for a minimum objective of 10 % surface coverage by 2020 of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas by marine protected areas, in accordance with relevant international commitments and in support of achieving good environmental status in the Union’s marine environment by 2020, in accordance with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive; calls for the establishment of a network of protected marine, coastal and inland areas and parks; encourages the Member States involved in the strategy to improve the environmental quality by carrying out projects seeking to cut chemical, physical and microbiological pollution by optimising the sustainability of maritime traffic, protecting biodiversity and investing in protected marine areas; calls, in this connection, on the Member States involved to promote integrated systems for environmental observation and monitoring of protected marine areas and to step up cooperation between regional environmental monitoring centres;

17.  Expresses grave concern at the renewed interest in exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, both offshore and on land, especially in areas already heavily affected by significant environmental consequences; considers it important that relevant studies are carried out for the macro-region; stresses that exploration and exploitation of oil and gas must accord with the aims of the integrated maritime policy and maritime planning and that the focus of energy production should generally be on renewable energy, for example offshore wind power; emphasises that the Adriatic is a closed, shallow sea, which lacks the capacity to disperse pollutants and has a flourishing tourist trade on both its shores, and that the macro-region’s growth should first depend on tourism and on economic activities linked to its specific environmental features and ecosystems; underlines the need for the Member States in the region to be consistent in implementing EU legislation and international conventions on environmental sustainability and the safety of maritime activities such as offshore oil and gas exploration and the development, installation and operation of offshore wind turbines; calls therefore for the full implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) and of the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Directive (2013/30/EU); encourages, in view of macro-regional cooperation, the establishment of a system for intervention in case of accidents;

18.  Highlights the link between the protection of the environment and the development of sustainable tourism; encourages, in that regard, the region to pursue the development of sustainable tourism thus avoiding negative effects on the environment;

19.  Calls on the Commission to step up exchanges of good practices such as the sustainable projects developed by the Coastal Action Groups;

20.  Urges Member States to actively involve local authorities, communities, the civil society and other stakeholders in the implementation of the macro-regional strategy, so that they are able to exercise their right to participate in decision-making related to their local environment and public health when these are put in danger by pollution or by invasive or environmentally harmful infrastructures not compliant with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU); invites Member States to share with the relevant authorities in neighbouring countries the findings of analyses of the impact of maritime economic activities that fall within the scope of the EIA Directive and those coming under Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment;

21.  Recognises the fact that many regional communities declared themselves as GMO free zones; recommends, in that respect, cooperation and coordination in the framework of the EUSAIR in order to ensure protection against GMO contamination;

22.  Endorses the Commission’s view that a centre for the prevention of natural and non-natural disasters should be set up for the Adriatic and Ionian macro-region;

23.  Encourages cooperation between the Member States’ hydrometeorological institutes to achieve better coordination in tackling extreme weather events, climate change consequences, and disaster risk management;

24.  Recognises water, agriculture and tourism as the sectors most vulnerable to climate change, therefore encourages cooperation between national authorities in order to establish a framework and a support mechanism for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures;

25.  Recognises the high potential of underused renewable energy sources in the macro-region; encourages investing in further efforts to encourage and promote macro-regional energy cooperation in the context of the Energy Union which would involve Member States and non-Member States in order to achieve the climate and energy goals of the EU for 2030;

26.  Encourages the Member States to pursue the development of an environmentally friendly transport sector, including but not limited to railroad infrastructure, especially in terms of cross-border infrastructure development; encourages the development of multimodal transport and integrated ticketing;

27.  Encourages the use of the regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions from maritime transport (Regulation (EU) 2015/757) for innovation and establishment of sustainable maritime transport in the macro-region by using alternative marine propulsion engines and fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in the transport sector.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

15.7.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

56

8

3

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Pilar Ayuso, Catherine Bearder, Ivo Belet, Simona Bonafè, Biljana Borzan, Lynn Boylan, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Nessa Childers, Alberto Cirio, Mireille D’Ornano, Miriam Dalli, Seb Dance, Angélique Delahaye, Jørn Dohrmann, Ian Duncan, Stefan Eck, Bas Eickhout, Eleonora Evi, José Inácio Faria, Francesc Gambús, Iratxe García Pérez, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Jens Gieseke, Julie Girling, Sylvie Goddyn, Matthias Groote, Françoise Grossetête, Andrzej Grzyb, Jytte Guteland, György Hölvényi, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Jean-François Jalkh, Benedek Jávor, Kateřina Konečná, Giovanni La Via, Peter Liese, Norbert Lins, Jiří Maštálka, Valentinas Mazuronis, Susanne Melior, Miroslav Mikolášik, Massimo Paolucci, Gilles Pargneaux, Piernicola Pedicini, Bolesław G. Piecha, Pavel Poc, Marcus Pretzell, Michèle Rivasi, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Davor Škrlec, Renate Sommer, Dubravka Šuica, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Damiano Zoffoli

Substitutes present for the final vote

Paul Brannen, Nicola Caputo, Fredrick Federley, James Nicholson, Marit Paulsen, Gabriele Preuß, Keith Taylor, Tom Vandenkendelaere

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Lucy Anderson, Malin Björk, Jiří Maštálka

(1)

OJ L 197, 21.7.2001, p. 30.

(2)

OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p.19.

(3)

OJ L 178, 28.6.2013, p.66.

(4)

OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1.


OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries (23.6.2015)

for the Committee on Regional Development

on an EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region

(2014/2214(INI))

Rapporteur: Norica Nicolai

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Regional Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas, as the Commission rightly evaluates, there are large socio-economic differences between the countries involved in this strategy, especially between EU Member States and non-Member States; whereas the Commission will present to Parliament the financial contributions of non-Member States for the implementation of this strategy;

B.  whereas applying and respecting the CFP rules and objectives should be one of the most important evaluation targets for all the countries involved in this strategy; whereas, additionally, the quantitative target of at or below the ‘Maximum Sustainable Yield’ should be part of any evaluation concerning the marine environment and fisheries in the region;

C.  whereas the Adriatic Sea, due to its semi-enclosed nature is especially vulnerable to pollution and has unusual hydrographic features such as the fact that the depth and coastline vary considerably between the north and south of the region; whereas fish stocks are shared among all the coastal countries, which puts regeneration of the stocks under sustained pressure; whereas measures within the future framework regulation on technical measures in the reformed CFP should be devised on a regional basis and tailor-made to the specificities of this area and its marine resources and fisheries;

D.  whereas the region’s waters are threatened by various sources of pollution, including untreated waste and litter, eutrophication from agricultural runoff and fish farms, and whereas, given that environmental protection is part of the EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region, it is of the utmost importance to understand that economic development can only be conceived in the context of environmental sustainability;

E.  whereas the Commission, in both the strategy and the action plan, admits to not having a complete evaluation of the status quo in the region and the countries, owing to the lack of data;

F.  whereas, according to the Commission, the EU will be co-financing the projects together with the Members States;

G.  whereas the blue economy represents a potential solution to the economic crisis as it boosts new jobs creation, growth and economic development, especially in coastal and island countries; whereas the EU strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region cannot be implemented without taking into consideration the concept of the blue economy as it covers a wide range of economic sectors linked to the seas and oceans, spanning traditional and emerging sectors including fisheries, aquaculture, (seagoing) shipping and inland waterway transport, ports and logistics, tourism;

H.  whereas the strategy is as good as the projects financed and supported by the Member States;

I.  whereas all the countries wish to achieve economic growth and development;

J.  whereas blue growth, which is part of this strategy and of the action plan accompanying it, is a platform for sustainable development projects especially for these types of regions;

K.  whereas fisheries, although one of the most important sectors in this region, are not covered by a specific part of the strategy, but instead different aspects are distributed across a number of pillars;

L.  whereas an increase in maritime transport and in the cruise ship tourism industry are part of the strategy and of the action plan for achieving development and economic growth;

M.  whereas an increase in maritime activity could damage the already endangered fish stocks in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas;

1.  Calls on the Commission, as an independent facilitator in this strategy, to underline the importance of creating the conditions for reducing socio-economic differences between the countries; reiterates that the aim of the strategy is to help strengthen economic and social cohesion within the European Union and with the third countries of the Ionian-Adriatic region, while supporting and promoting efforts to align the current legislation on fisheries with the goals laid down in the CFP and to bring about solid cross-border cooperation among the countries in the region;

2.  Calls on the Commission to ensure, to the best of its abilities, that the fishing industry, fish stocks, the maritime environment and all other matters relating to this sector are coordinated and managed in a sustainable manner among all pillars and that all countries, including the third countries of the macro-region involved in projects, act in accordance with, and respect, the values, principles and objectives of the CFP, and calls on both the Commission and the states involved in the strategy to develop common projects in compliance with these principles;

3.  Emphasises the importance of supporting the implementation of the new Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (through coordinated planning) as well as enhanced management in the fields of fisheries and aquaculture, in order to contribute to a more sustainable use of existing natural resources and thus to sustainable growth; considers that proper joint governance of the maritime space provides an important framework for a sustainable and transparent use of maritime and marine resources;

4.  Calls on the Commission to actively promote the establishment of Fisheries Local Action Groups, which could represent a natural tool for diversifying fisheries; stresses that sustainable and profitable fisheries and aquaculture require strengthened stakeholder involvement in the overall management, as well as improved and diversified fisheries activities;

5.  Calls on the Commission to formulate as soon as possible a multiannual fisheries management plan for these two sea basins;

6.  Calls, given that an increase in maritime activity could affect the health of the fish stocks in the region and that many species are already struggling, for a thorough evaluation and analysis of the evolution of the stocks to be carried out constantly and shared among all the countries; asks for the precautionary principle to be applied whenever needed;

7.  Calls on the Commission, given that the region has a particularly sensitive marine ecosystem, for any factor such as maritime transport or waste, pollution of water, future drilling or building of new infrastructure on the coast that might impact on the health of the fish stocks, which are already in a difficult situation, to be evaluated with a comprehensive environmental impact analysis; insists that the precautionary principle and that of sustainability be applied whenever necessary, and calls on the Commission to update the list of maritime activities (deep-sea mining, offshore energy production, etc.) which could have an impact on the marine environment and on the status of fish stocks;

8.  Calls on the Commission, given that an increase in maritime activity is progressively restricting fishing grounds, to make sure that the interests of the sectors concerned are taken into account in an equitable way at every stage in the development of maritime activities, namely when designing maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management;

9.  Calls for projects seeking to assess the impact of indirect fishing (ghost nets, mussel cultivation meshes) and by-catches of protected species to be evaluated and promoted, it being estimated that, in the Adriatic alone, over 40 000 sea turtles are caught accidentally; takes the view that environmental studies and studies on means of alleviating the problem (such as turtle excluder devices) are urgently necessary;

10.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the development of sustainable recreational fisheries in the region as well as sustainable and profitable tourism and to promote integrated policies for fishing and tourism (fishing tourism, mariculture, etc.) in compliance with the principle of sustainability;

11.  Calls on the Commission to encourage and support projects that offer a real and sustainable development for the small remote communities that live on islands and secure their day-to-day income through small-scale fisheries;

12.  Calls on the Commission to support and promote the involvement of fisheries and fishery workers in projects such as those relating to cultural and heritage tourism, encompassing fisheries and the rediscovery of seafaring activities and traditional fishing grounds and occupations;

13.  Is concerned about the damage caused by plastic waste at sea; calls on the Commission to support initiatives to collect and recycle this waste; stresses the importance of involving fishermen in the process;

14.  Calls on the Commission to register recreational fishing catch volumes, to regulate this activity and to make both recreational and professional fishing activities subject to MSY objectives;

15.  Calls on the Commission, given the need for a fish repopulation of some zones of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, to ensure that the marine nursery areas for different species of fish are accurately identified and protected to provide the necessary financial support for the creation of artificial reefs and to step up existing efforts to establish a coherent network of marine protected areas in the region, ensuring that all biologically important areas are protected in accordance with relevant international commitments such as the Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity;

16.  Supports the creation of a quality label for high-quality seafood products bearing the Adriatic-Ionian label in order to increase the competitiveness of the industry and provide consumers with a certification guaranteeing the quality of fisheries and fish farming products;

17.  Stresses that the development of aquaculture and mariculture can play an important role not only in the recovery of species diversity but also in the economic growth of the Adriatic and Ionian region;

18.  Calls on the Commission to address as a matter of the utmost urgency the lack of precise, comprehensive data regarding maritime resources, and the level of water pollution caused by plastic waste, untreated wastewater and invasive species contained in ballast water discharge, which makes the evaluations unclear and unreliable; calls on the Commission, given that fisheries data, fish stocks evaluation and all the other related analyses are incomplete, to address this before starting to fund other developments; calls on the Commission to promote fruitful scientific cooperation among the actors of the Adriatic-Ionian region, and to ensure that the countries concerned implement reforms in order to achieve the capacity to perform data collection, analysis and evaluation with the aim of identifying opportunities for sustainable exploitation of marine resources;

19.  Calls on the states involved in the strategy to improve environmental quality through projects aimed at reducing chemical, physical and microbiological pollution, and to jointly develop strategies to decrease microplastics and other litter in the region’s waters, while coordinating clean-up of existing ones, optimising the activities of maritime traffic with the aim of achieving sustainability, protecting biodiversity, investing in marine recovery areas and addressing the problem of eutrophication from agricultural runoff;

20.  Calls on the Commission to present a report to Parliament and the Council every year, starting with the implementation year and ending with the final evaluation after the 2020 target; this report should be based on reports and analyses carried out by the coordinators, in conjunction with the evaluations collected by the Commission from other stakeholders;

21.  Calls on the Commission and the states involved in the strategy to promote the fundamental work of women in the fisheries sector, to promote their professional qualification and their inclusion in the coastal action groups and producers’ organisations;

22.  Calls on the Commission and the states involved in the strategy to provide incentives that attract young people to the field of fisheries and aquaculture in the Adriatic and Ionian region and encourage them to undertake such activities;

23.  Calls on the Commission to intensify the exchange of good practices such as the sustainability of projects developed by the Coastal Action Groups.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

17.6.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, João Ferreira, Raymond Finch, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, Werner Kuhn, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Norica Nicolai, Ulrike Rodust, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Isabelle Thomas, Peter van Dalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, José Blanco López, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Francisco José Millán Mon

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Tim Aker


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

17.9.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Pascal Arimont, José Blanco López, Franc Bogovič, Mercedes Bresso, Steeve Briois, Edward Czesak, Rosa D’Amato, Bill Etheridge, Michela Giuffrida, Krzysztof Hetman, Ivan Jakovčić, Constanze Krehl, Andrew Lewer, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Martina Michels, Andrey Novakov, Younous Omarjee, Mirosław Piotrowski, Stanislav Polčák, Julia Reid, Liliana Rodrigues, Fernando Ruas, Maria Spyraki, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, Ángela Vallina, Monika Vana, Matthijs van Miltenburg, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

James Nicholson, Jan Olbrycht, Demetris Papadakis, Maurice Ponga, Hannu Takkula

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Brando Benifei, Andrejs Mamikins, Soraya Post

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