Procedure : 2012/2297(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0209/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0209/2013

Debates :

PV 01/07/2013 - 21
CRE 01/07/2013 - 21

Votes :

PV 02/07/2013 - 9.13

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0300

REPORT     
PDF 258kDOC 164k
10 June 2013
PE 507.950v02-00 A7-0209/2013

on Blue Growth: Enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors

(2012/2297(INI))

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Rapporteur: Spyros Danellis

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on blue growth: enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors

(2012/2297(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 13 September 2012 on ‘Blue Growth – opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth’ (COM(2012)0494),

–   having regard to the Commission report of 11 September 2012 on ‘Progress of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy’ (COM(2012)0491) and the accompanying Commission staff working document (SWD(2012)0255),

–   having regard to the Limassol Declaration of 8 October 2012 on a Marine and Maritime Agenda for growth and jobs,

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which entered into force on 16 November 1994,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for marine spatial planning and integrated coastal management (COM(2013)0133),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 31 October 2012 entitled ‘Overview of EU policies, legislation and initiatives related to marine litter’ (SWD(2012)0365),

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 29 August 2012 entitled ‘Marine Knowledge 2020 – from seabed mapping to ocean forecasting’ (COM(2012)0473),

–   having regard to the Commission White Paper of 28 March 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 30 June 2010 entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 21 January 2009 entitled ‘Communication and action plan with a view to establishing a European maritime transport space without barriers’ (COM(2009)0010),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2007 entitled ‘An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union’ (COM(2007)0575),

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 7 June 2006 entitled ‘Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas’ (COM(2006)0275),

–   having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2011 on ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 October 2010 on ‘Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) – Evaluation of progress made and new challenges’(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2008 on the regional development aspects of the impact of tourism on coastal regions(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2008 on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on ‘A future maritime policy for the European Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas’(6),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 March 2013 on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – ‘Blue Growth – opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth’,

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 31 January 2013 on ‘Blue Growth – opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth’,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0209/2013),

A. whereas over 70 % of the earth's surface is covered by oceans and seas which can play a crucial role in addressing the long-term challenges facing the EU, such as climate change and global competitiveness;

B.  whereas there are six major coastal zones in the EU (the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the outermost regions), which differ in their territorial resources and the type of activities pursued there;

C. whereas approximately half of Europe’s population lives along the 89 000 kilometres of Europe’s coastline, and it is therefore important that regional and local authorities take this demographic pressure into account when implementing public policies;

D. whereas technological progress and the search for new sources of sustainable growth are expected to increase the size of the maritime economy to EUR 590 billion by 2020, providing a total of 7 million jobs;

E.  whereas the expected increase in human activity will be taking place in a fragile marine environment in which only 10 % of marine habitats and 2 % of marine species are healthy, which demonstrates that maritime economic activities should not undermine marine sustainability;

F.  whereas investment in natural and human capital is essential in order to meet the current challenges, most notably that of making human activity economically and socially sustainable, ensuring environmentally sound conditions, and adapting to climate change so as to combat coastal erosion and marine acidification and preserve biodiversity, taking into account that healthy, productive ecosystems are vital for the development of a sustainable, competitive blue economy;

G. whereas the size and scope of the environmental impacts of the Blue Growth focus areas are highly uncertain and potentially harmful, given our limited knowledge about the intricate complexity of the marine ecosystems, and related decision-making must therefore be guided by the precautionary principle enshrined in Article 191(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);

H. whereas the coastal and maritime policy should be included in the general framework of the 2014-2020 programming period, also with a view to achieving the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy;

I.   whereas the objective of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for coastal and island areas must be backed up by a rigorous analysis of the systemic and structural handicaps that characterise these areas;

J.   whereas the EU’s island system, as far as maritime transport is concerned, has to bear significantly higher costs than the other coastal areas of the EU;

K. whereas the seasonal nature of tourism strongly compromises the development of coastal and island areas and an ad hoc strategy should be developed to counter this problem;

L.  whereas there is a need for coordination between the macro-regional strategies and the respective action plans for the Union’s sea basins;

M. whereas this report is Parliament’s roadmap for the further advancement of blue growth;

General Framework

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s communication on Blue Growth, which forms the maritime dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy and gives a clear indication of the potential of the maritime economy to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and generate employment opportunities;

2.  Welcomes the Commission’s report on the progress of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP); reiterates its support for the IMP and stresses that the promotion of this policy remains the primary means for enhancing blue growth;

3.  Acknowledges that the seas and oceans will increasingly play a key role in global economic growth in the future; considers that the Blue Growth Strategy, as part of the Integrated Maritime Policy, will encourage the development of synergies and coordinated policies, thus generating European added value and contributing to job creation in maritime sectors;

4.  Considers that, in order to boost the competitiveness of the Union's maritime economic sectors in the global market, local, regional, national and European authorities must create the necessary conditions for sustainable growth, namely by establishing maritime spatial planning systems, upgrading infrastructure, creating access to professional skills and securing funding; stresses the importance of sharing information and best practices between the different levels of public authorities through the creation of a specific EU platform;

5.  Notes that securing adequate funding will be a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in blue growth sectors, and therefore welcomes initiatives such as new EU rules for venture capital funds, which will facilitate the access of SMEs to funding;

6.  Considers that at a time when Member States are cutting public investment, it is urgently necessary that development policies and above all high-cost projects, such as transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure projects, receive adequate funding during the 2014-2020 programming period and beyond; calls on the Member States to channel available financial instruments and European funding towards blue economy projects;

7.  Stresses the importance of taking into account, in particular in the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the specific needs of the bailed-out Member States that are facing increased difficulty in undertaking high-cost projects, as well as those of the outermost and island regions, which present structural constraints due to their remoteness and natural characteristics;

8.  Notes the conditions of economic crisis and the social problems that are affecting many areas, particularly islands, above all in the Mediterranean and especially those which are very distant from the mainland; underscores that the remoteness of the islands in relation to the single market exposes them to industrial and economic stagnation and depopulation, which must be the target of specific measures on the part of the EU institutions; urges the Commission, therefore, to consider establishing free zones as a tool which, by reducing the tax burden and attracting foreign direct investment, could halt the downward spiral that is affecting island areas by driving growth and development;

9.  Highlights the role of sea-basin strategies in fostering regional development and economic, territorial and social cohesion, revitalising the European economy, encouraging inclusive blue growth, creating jobs and protecting marine and coastal biodiversity; calls for such strategies, linked to current and future macro-regional strategies, to be effectively rolled out for all European maritime basins and for appropriate EU and other financial and administrative resources to be dedicated to their implementation; considers that the role played by the regions in drawing up sea-basin strategies needs to be strengthened; acknowledges, in this regard, the contribution of territorial and crossborder cooperation to addressing the problems faced by coastal and maritime regions;

10. Welcomes the progress made regarding implementation of the EU strategies for the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic regions, and reiterates its request to the Commission for the formulation of an EU strategy for the Black Sea region;

11. Calls on the Union and the Member States to give strong support to the creation of regional and crossborder maritime clusters; underscores the strategic importance of such clusters as centres of excellence for economic activity related to blue growth; believes that developing them will promote the sharing of knowledge and good practice, generate synergies between the various sectors of the blue economy, and help to attract investment;

12. Stresses the inherent linkages between economic growth and climate change, and emphasises that all maritime activities must be aligned with the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change with the view to contributing to a more climate-resilient Europe;

13. Stresses, in particular, that the increased economic activity associated with blue growth must not come at the expense of marine and coastal ecosystems, which are extremely sensitive and are among the first to suffer from the impacts of climate change; emphasises that blue growth must be compatible with the environmental objectives and the ecosystem approach of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), as well as the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, recalling that in cases of uncertainty the precautionary principle must be observed; stresses that all economic activities associated with blue growth should ensure maritime safety and security;

14. Notes with concern the environmental impact of marine litter in all European sea basins, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to focus on the full implementation and enforcement of the relevant EU directives, such as those on waste management, port reception facilities for ship-generated waste, water quality and marine strategy;

15. Stresses that all maritime activities, including those that take place within the framework of the IMP, should be conducted in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); underscores the need for a common EU approach to the exploration, exploitation, conservation and management of the sea’s natural resources, which ensures the efficient and secure delimitation of exclusive economic zones (EEZs) between EU Member States and third countries in accordance with international law;

16. Stresses, in that regard, the need for legal certainty for all stakeholders investing in maritime areas, and supports fresh incentives to boost the exploitation of Member States’ exclusive economic zones;

Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management

17. Welcomes the Commission’s legislative proposal for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) as measures necessary for managing the increasing number of maritime and coastal activities and protecting the marine environment, ensuring that various activities can coexist harmoniously and avoiding conflict over the use of coastal and sea areas; considers it necessary in this regard to opt for an ecosystems-based approach to the management of human activity on the coast and at sea;

18. Notes that MSP is expected to bring business costs down and improve the investment climate, while ICM will facilitate the coordination of activities in the coastal zone and will bring about an overall improvement in the governance of this zone;

19. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that best practices are disseminated and that lessons are learned from preparatory actions in this area, since there are significant differences between Member States in the development of management systems for maritime and coastal areas; considers, nonetheless, that a tailored approach is needed, so as to leave the Member States scope, when implementing EU maritime and coastal planning guidelines, for taking account of local specificities and needs in liaison with local authorities;

20. Believes that the land-sea interface needs to be strengthened in the context of spatial planning in order to safeguard continuity of human activities and of the supply chain and ensure that coastal areas are properly connected with their hinterland; believes that this could help avoid the phenomenon of coasts being treated as borders;

21. Stresses that the gaps in scientific knowledge on maritime activities and their environment constitute obstacles for spatial planning, and highlights the importance of the initiative ‘Marine Knowledge 2020’ and its specific objectives, such as the mapping of the seabed of European waters by 2020; considers that the seabed should be uniformly mapped so that the information can be accessed by interested European bodies, specifically research centres, universities, and public institutions;

22. Urges the Commission to help Member States launch plans to map and survey wrecked ships and submerged archaeological sites, which form an important part of the Union's historical and cultural heritage; stresses the need to facilitate the understanding and study of such sites and help prevent the despoliation to which they are being subjected, thus enabling them to be properly preserved;

Maritime skills and employment

23. Considers that overall employment in the blue economy may exceed the estimated number of 7 million jobs by 2020, if it is supported by training policies aimed at ensuring the presence of a mobile workforce with sufficient skills and experience;

24. Reiterates its call for a significant improvement in working, health and safety conditions in the maritime professions; encourages the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts in this field in order to improve career security and make jobs in the blue economy and related sectors more attractive;

25. Stresses the need to improve the working conditions of seafarers by appropriate means, to incorporate the ILO Maritime Labour Convention into Union law, and to propose a programme for the qualification and training of seafarers, in particular the recruitment of young people, including those from third countries;

26. Calls on the Commission to monitor closely and to support efforts at regional level to assess the skills and professions which will be in demand in blue economic sectors, and to ensure that initiatives such as the ‘EU Skills Panorama’ reflect the needs of the blue economy;

27. Considers that the Commission should, together with the Member States, draw up an action plan to promote professions that are directly or indirectly linked to the blue economy, in order to attract people into them;

28. Calls on the Commission to promote initiatives to encourage the mobility of workers between economic sectors and Member States, such as a multiannual action for exchanges of students, teachers and young professionals, on the Erasmus model; supports cooperation between enterprises and training providers with the aim of preparing graduates for jobs in new areas;

29. Calls on the Commission to cooperate with the representatives of the maritime economic sector and training providers with a view to establishing and funding European Sector Councils on Employment and Skills, in order to register jobs, changes in skills required and related training needs;

30. Calls on the Commission to develop an initiative to encourage the mobility of research staff, especially in coastal areas, with specific reference to the areas of tourism, energy and biotechnology, along the lines of Erasmus, to be implemented as a priority during low tourist seasons in order to balance, in a sustainable manner, the flows of people in increasingly sensitive ecosystems, whilst at the same time optimising the use of the infrastructure of coastal areas and islands;

Research and innovation

31. Notes the EU’s world-class research capacity in maritime fields and its importance for substantiated policy-making and innovation-driven business, but also the difficulty experienced by business in commercialising research output;

32. Underlines that the Horizon 2020 programme, with simpler procedures and better support for innovation, could provide significant aid for marine and maritime research with a view to enhancing market uptake, building on the experience of the ‘Ocean of Tomorrow’ projects;

33. Calls on the Commission to update its European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research by 2014, proposing concrete measures to improve synergies and knowledge dissemination among researchers in the EU;

34. Notes that only healthy marine ecosystems can be a basis for a sound and sustainable blue economy; calls on the Commission to continue researching the cumulative impacts of human uses of the marine environment and of maritime activities in all sectors;

35. Calls on the Commission to provide adequate long-term environmental monitoring and conduct research on early warning systems;

36. Emphasises the importance of projects like the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNET) for facilitating the exchange and availability of research data;

Shipping and shipbuilding

37. Notes with concern that shipping within the EU continues to be hampered by administrative and customs red tape that compromises the vision of a European maritime transport area and prevents growth in the industry, especially in maritime cabotage and motorways of the sea; believes that a uniform set of rules for intra-Union shipping needs to be developed as it is crucial to ensuring the free movement of goods and persons in EU waters;

38. Is satisfied at the success of the ‘Blue Belt’ pilot programme, and calls on the Commission to make the necessary legislative proposals for the creation of the Blue Belt, including the necessary revision of the EU Customs Code, before the end of 2013;

39. Points out that the promotion of maritime transport will contribute not only to economic growth and employment, but also to attaining the target set in the White Paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’ of shifting 50 % of road freight to the railways and waterborne transport by 2050;

40. Stresses the need to broaden the role of the motorways of the sea as main European corridors, and underscores that, in order to ensure the long-term competitiveness of European maritime transport, it is essential to create seamless transport chains for passengers and cargo across transport modes; calls on the Commission to issue a communication on the progress, development and future of the motorways of the sea; takes the view that major islands should be fully integrated into the motorways of the sea in order to improve their accessibility and increase their economic competitiveness;

41. Stresses that maritime safety is crucial for the sustainable promotion of maritime transport, sustainable economic growth, maritime employment and sustainable environmental standards in this sector; stresses that the principle of prevention should be applied to anticipate new risks and prevent all types of maritime transport disasters; notes that action in that matter must be taken within the EU, but also at international level, and notably within the International Maritime Organisation;

42. Stresses that implementation of the Third Maritime Safety Package is improving the quality of European flags, the activity of classification societies, port control, vessel traffic monitoring, accident investigation and victim protection; calls on the Member States to speed up the efficient implementation of this legislative package;

43. Stresses that maritime transport policy should take into account all relevant economic, environmental and public health concerns; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the impact of the EU shipping sector’s compliance with environmental and public health requirements and, where appropriate, propose specific measures to counteract negative effects on its competitiveness; notes that legislation requirements relating to the scrapping of ships and the sulphur content of marine fuels should ensure a high level of environmental protection, while safeguarding effectively the objective of shifting transport from road to sea, in line with the Union’s climate change targets;

44. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to significantly step up their efforts to reach an international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport, taking into account the growing impact of greenhouse gas emissions from ships;

45. Points out that eco-friendly fuels such as LNG can play an important role in achieving the target of reducing the EU’s CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by at least 40 % by 2050;

46. Emphasises the need to support the development of effective and sustainable port services and infrastructure that can cope with the challenges of the expected increase in shipping traffic, and of reducing environmental and noise pollution, shifting traffic from land to sea and ensuring the smooth switching of passengers and goods from one mode of transport to another; advocates the parallel development in European ports of ship repair and scrapping;

47. Draws attention to the possibility of setting up logistics platforms to facilitate the transport of goods between Europe and the other global economies; highlights the strategic importance of maritime transport and links between the outermost regions and other areas on the mainland;

48. Stresses that the EU shipbuilding industry has the potential to increase its contribution to growth and employment by exploiting the opportunities arising from demand for ‘clean ships’ (increased energy efficiency and reduced SOx and NOx emissions) as well as vessels and structures suitable for the construction, installation and operation of offshore wind farms; calls on the EU shipbuilding industry to take up this opportunity, especially given the expected increase in short sea shipping along the EU coastline;

49. Urges the Council to reach an agreement with Parliament to adopt a regulation providing for vessels to be dismantled in a way that respects the environment and the workers’ working conditions, thereby enabling the EU’s shipbuilding industry to recycle materials more competitively;

50. Calls on the Commission to facilitate the implementation of the LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy, by supporting the actions identified to address the challenges faced by the European shipbuilding industry, such as access to finance, skills and international competitiveness;

Maritime and coastal tourism

51. Calls on the Member States, with the direct involvement of local and regional authorities, as well as civil society organisations, to support initiatives to develop and upgrade sustainable tourism infrastructure, with particular emphasis on the needs of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, and to make every effort to eliminate bureaucracy and lack of transparency in the sector while respecting environmental legislation;

52. Calls for tourism to be promoted and sustained as a driver for growth and jobs in coastal areas; takes the view that a healthy environment is fundamental to any form of tourism in coastal regions and that every effort must therefore be made to protect it; highlights the need to provide sustainable infrastructure for the development of new forms of tourism, in particular tourism sectors with high growth potential, such as eco-agro-fishing tourism and sustainable water sports; welcomes initiatives to promote crossborder tourism strategies on a sea-basin basis;

53. Emphasises that the erosion of the European coastline, the safeguarding of Europe’s environmental and animal heritage, and the improvement of water quality remain important issues to be tackled; stresses, therefore, the need to properly invest in these areas in order to develop sustainable and good-quality beach and underwater tourism;

54. Stresses that measures for exploiting and developing the coastal, maritime and marine heritage must be planned in parallel with measures for its conservation and restoration;

55. Notes the importance of creating or upgrading specialised high-level schools (for the administration and economy of tourism enterprises, for tourism professions, maritime colleges, cookery schools, etc) and of improving training provision with a view to boosting the quality of tourist services and products, the use of new technologies and the process of adapting to climate change;

56. Stresses the need to simplify visa procedures, to reduce the costs involved and to issue multiple-entry visas to visitors from third countries, in particular from the BRIC countries; calls on the Commission to investigate and immediately implement new, ‘smart’ ways of issuing tourist visas in order to maximise incoming tourist flows;

57. Stresses that the cruise industry is an important economic resource for European ports and neighbouring local communities, which is also vital in the development and use of more energy-efficient ships with lower emissions; encourages the planning of attractive tourist programmes designed to enhance the visitor’s experience by highlighting the maritime, cultural and historical importance of port destinations;

58. Calls on the Commission to step up its efforts to boost the competitiveness of European ports by supporting and coordinating port infrastructure capacities and upgrading the services provided (e.g. by bringing them into line with the Schengen requirements) in order to make European ports more attractive for cruise ships and more beneficial for local and fishing communities, thereby enabling them to diversify their activities; calls on the Commission to take into account the particular features of ports in island and outermost regions;

59. Requests that it be made obligatory in port modernisation and expansion projects to equip passenger terminals and new passenger ships with facilities for people with reduced mobility;

60. Reiterates the importance of coastal and seagoing passenger transport, especially via ferries and cruise ships, and notes the entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 on the rights of passengers travelling by sea, which should help enhance quality maritime tourism; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to set a campaign in motion to improve the quality of passenger and cruise ships with regard to passengers’ rights, on the basis of operators’ best practices;

61. Underscores the importance of yachting and sailing for maritime tourism; calls on the Commission to examine, in the context of its forthcoming communication on maritime tourism, the social and economic impact of this sector, the scope for harmonisation and simplification at EU level of the rules governing the issuing of operating licences, navigating and operating conditions, safety requirements, yacht maintenance and repair work, and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications in this sector;

62. Reasserts the importance of beach tourism as a feature of some European coastal regions; calls on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment to verify whether Directive 2006/123/EC could have a negative impact on SMEs in this sector, and, if deemed necessary, to propose measures to alleviate this impact and to ensure that the specific characteristics of this professional activity are taken into account in the application of the Directive;

63. Calls on the Commission to encourage the Member States, regions, autonomous communities and other stakeholders in coastal and island areas to develop and implement, in a systemic manner, the ‘ancient trade routes’ initiative approved by Parliament in the 2013 budget, both in the Mediterranean and in other European basins, especially in order to diversify tourism products and reduce the seasonal nature of tourism;

64. Calls on the Commission to include sustainable maritime, island and coastal tourism in related actions and programmes, such as the ‘EDEN – European Destinations of Excellence’ and the Calypso programmes, and to support initiatives that encourage the diversification of coastal, maritime and marine tourism, help make tourist activities and employment less seasonal and stimulate adaptation to climate change; considers, in this regard, that the diversification of tourism can help to increase the attractiveness of maritime regions and enable them to move beyond the traditional ‘sun, sea and sand’ model;

65. Calls for the promotion of maritime resorts, as these can reduce seasonal variations and create a multiplier effect for local and regional economies, by integrating fishing communities and striking a balance between economic growth and sustainability;

66. Calls on the Commission to take account of the contribution and role of local culture and artisanal gastronomy in the development of European coastal tourism; considers it necessary to use and coordinate existing policies and tools and to draw up new programmes and actions in order to encourage synergies among, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the primary and tertiary sectors in coastal areas of the EU;

67. Urges the Commission to include in the Virtual Tourism Observatory a section dedicated to maritime and coastal tourism, ensuring links between research institutes, enterprises and public authorities with the aim of driving forward market research, providing enterprises and public authorities with forward-looking information on the development of supply and demand and creating more favourable business conditions, whilst also providing information on the links between biodiversity, climate protection and sustainable tourism initiatives;

Blue energy

68. Notes that climate change is one of the main threats to marine biodiversity worldwide, and that the energy aspects of a blue growth strategy must be based on renewable energies and energy efficiency;

69. Acknowledges, in that regard, the importance of Europe’s seas and oceans for the EU’s energy security and the diversification of its energy sources and supply routes;

70. Notes the potential of offshore wind, tidal, wave and ocean thermal energy, as well as of the conventional offshore energy sector, to generate sustainable jobs in coastal regions, reduce emissions and contribute to the EU’s medium and long-term energy targets; highlights the fact that significant investment in redeveloping grid connections and in transmission capacity will be required to exploit this potential;

71. Emphasises that blue energy is an asset for the European maritime economy; urges the Commission and the Member States to contribute to realising the potential of blue energy by making use of sea-basin strategies, paying special attention to the possibilities offered by the outermost regions owing to their location and natural characteristics;

72. Calls on the Commission actively to support the EU’s global leadership in this area by developing a European industrial strategy for blue energy, as it has done in the past for other sectors;

73. Calls on the Commission to adopt, in its forthcoming communication in this area, an integrated approach to the development of marine energy resources, by exploiting synergies between offshore wind energy and other forms of renewable marine energy; emphasises that such an approach must allow energy to be supplied from a full and sustainable range of sources, in line with the precautionary principle and ensuring maritime security and safety, and that it must also include plans for adequate infrastructure to transport sea-generated energy to land and ensure interconnection with the conventional electricity grid;

74. Calls on the Member States to work together to facilitate the sustainable construction of the North Sea Offshore Grid for renewable energy; calls on the Commission to make a proposal for a corresponding regulatory framework;

Fisheries and aquaculture

75. Emphasises that aquaculture and fisheries should contribute to food production on a sustainable basis throughout the Union and to long-term food security and consumer protection; considers that the development and innovation of a sustainable aquaculture and fish processing industry should be encouraged, by cutting down bureaucracy and promoting employment opportunities in these sectors and improving the quality of life in both coastal and rural areas;

76. Emphasises the importance of developing sustainable aquaculture in order to reduce overfishing of European fish stocks and dependence on imports of fish from third countries, which account for over 60 % of the fish consumed within the EU;

77. Points out that aquaculture in the EU already provides 80 000 jobs and has the potential significantly to improve the economies of coastal communities, bearing in mind UN estimates that production of farmed fish will exceed that of conventional fisheries by 2019;

78. Calls on the Commission, in its forthcoming strategic guidelines for aquaculture in the EU, to promote offshore aquaculture, which can be combined with blue energy facilities so as to reduce pressure from over-intensive aquaculture on coastal ecosystems and on other activities; highlights the need for the Member States’ respective integrated management plans to simplify the administrative burden and ensure the allocation of suitable space for the development of these activities;

79. Stresses the importance of the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which for the first time combines Integrated Maritime Policy and fisheries funding, as well as that of the European Investment Bank (EIB), in supporting the sustainable and environment-friendly development of fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing, as well as revenue diversification in fishing communities dependent on those sectors, in particular in respect of small-scale coastal fisheries, vocational training for women and young people, and attracting new entrepreneurs to the sector;

80. Acknowledges that protecting Europe’s maritime borders is a challenge for Member States; considers that a successful blue economy requires secure EU maritime borders, with a view to ensuring the protection of the marine environment, fisheries controls, the fight against illegal fishing and law enforcement; points, therefore, to the importance of setting up a European coastguard to coordinate operations and surveillance at sea; stresses, furthermore, the importance of stepping up regional cooperation initiatives relating to the fisheries sector;

Marine mineral extraction

81. Recognises the existence of favourable conditions for marine mineral extraction; stresses, however, that the seabed environment is linked to the rest of the planet through interchanges of matter, energy and biodiversity, which, if disrupted, may cause unpredictable changes in fish stocks and a loss of biodiversity;

82. Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the environmental consequences of mining the seabed, especially in highly sensitive marine environments, to support relevant research projects, to apply the precautionary principle, and to cooperate with the authorities of third countries involved in the sector in the attempt to fill existing gaps in scientific knowledge more rapidly;

83. Recognises that a more efficient use of resources, combined with enhanced recycling policies, offer a more cost-effective and sustainable approach to meeting our mineral needs than the intensive exploitation of underwater resources; deplores the fact that shortcomings in the recycling of raw and rare earth materials are contributing to an increase in waste, and calls, therefore, for measures to boost recycling industries so as to offer an alternative to sea mining; notes the long-term employment opportunities offered by this alternative approach;

Blue biotechnology

84. Recognises that blue biotechnology has the potential to create high-skilled employment and has much to offer in critical areas such as health, nutrition and innovation; welcomes the Commission’s intention to support the research and innovation needed to promote this activity in the field of entrepreneurship;

85. Emphasises the potential of marine biodiversity, in particular in the still widely undiscovered deep sea, for the blue biotechnology sector, but stresses the need for a cautious exploration of this highly sensitive ecosystem;

86. Calls on the Commission to clearly define the issues and challenges related to blue biotechnology (for example bio-nanotechnology, biomaterials and the introduction of genetically modified fish, shellfish and micro-organisms), and to employ a scientifically sound approach based on the precautionary principle in order to identify, assess and manage the associated environmental and health risks;

87. Calls on the Commission to promote partnerships between the private sector and research institutes, as well as crossborder partnerships such as the European Marine Biological Resource Centre, since marine biotechnology and access to marine biodiversity require scientific knowhow and sophisticated and expensive equipment;

°

°         °

88. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

OJ C 56 E, 26.2.2013, p.41.

(2)

OJ C 70E, 8.3.2012, p. 70.

(3)

OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 10.

(4)

OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 1.

(5)

OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 30.

(6)

OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 531.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The urgent need for economic development and job creation means that a new political approach to the maritime economy is necessary. The blue growth initiative embraces visionary proposals for the sectors of the future through a realistic and coherent framework, opening up prospects for broad synergies between economic sectors which are active not only in coastal regions of the Union, but throughout its territory.

Europe is turning towards the seas and the oceans

Mankind is turning towards the sea and oceans in the hope that they will be able to provide answers to the growing critical challenges we are now facing. New technologies, such as robotics and advanced underwater equipment, now allow EU researchers and enterprises to turn to the sea to help combat climate change, to develop treatments for serious diseases, to secure rare minerals, etc. Building on its long and powerful maritime tradition, Europe is now developing new activities such as offshore wind power and aquaculture.

But if the EU is turning towards the sea, it is also because it is driven to do so by broader concerns. The need to reduce carbon emissions has rekindled interest in short-sea shipping and is opening the way for renewable forms of offshore energy. The overexploitation of land resources is raising prices on global markets and reinforcing the economic incentive to explore the mineral resources of the seabed.

Opportunities for blue growth

There is ample scope for innovation and sustainable development in the maritime and coastal sectors, providing the right institutional operating framework is put in place. The Commission’s blue growth initiative was based on an extensive study of the economic potential of maritime and coastal sectors which identifies five areas with particular potential for job creation and the application of innovations. These are the blue energy, aquaculture, maritime and coastal tourism, marine mineral extraction, and blue biotechnology. With its focus on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, blue growth is rightly being presented by the Commission as the marine dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Far from replacing the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), blue growth seeks to revitalise it. The IMP agenda is the basic tool for establishing the conditions necessary to enable European enterprises to create added value in the blue economy. Beyond the cross-sectoral tools, the Commission has announced a series of sectoral initiatives in the five key areas to boost their capacity.

Blue growth with high employment and integrated sustainability

Your rapporteur welcomes the blue growth initiative and the proposed measures aimed at regulating and enhancing the blue economy. However, the draft report focuses on addressing two basic challenges of particular importance in order to maximise the benefits associated with blue growth.

The first is the need to ensure that the workforce has the necessary skills for the emerging maritime sectors, so that blue growth is synonymous with high-employment growth. The second is to ensure the integrated sustainability of blue growth, i.e. that it will not damage the fragile marine environment and make a powerful contribution to combating climate change.

Regarding high-employment growth, the measures proposed include the following:

–   The establishment and funding of European Sector Councils on Employment and Skills to identify and record new trends in employment and the skills and the training needed;

–   Making nautical and maritime careers more attractive through regulatory and promotional activities;

–   Supporting efforts at regional level to assess vocational skills requirements and ensure that the data contained in the ‘EU Skills Panorama’ is updated;

–   New training initiatives that promote the mobility of the workforce, such as a multiannual action for exchanges of students, teachers and young professionals, on the Erasmus model;

–   Cooperation between industry and educational institutions with a view to appropriately preparing graduates for new and changing occupations;

–   Supporting high-employment sectors such as cruise tourism and offshore wind energy.

Concerning integrated sustainability, the measures proposed include the following:

–   Ensuring that Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management will be used to ensure the good environmental status of the seas by 2020 (Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD));

–   Supporting marine mineral extraction research projects, coupled with a close monitoring of environmental impacts;

–   Launching an industrial strategy for blue energy with a view to maximising the sea’s potential to combat climate change;

–   A proposal for legislation during 2013 for a Blue Belt for shipping in the EU, in order to accelerate the modal shift from road to sea;

–   Full implementation of EU legislation aimed at tackling the growing problem of marine litter, such as the directives on waste management, port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues, water quality and marine strategy;

–   Promoting organic aquaculture and protecting consumer health as regards fish feed and managing the consequences of the expansion of aquaculture.

Maritime and coastal tourism

Maritime and coastal tourism play a prominent role in the tourism economy of the EU and the economy of coastal areas, in many of which they are the main source of income and employment.

Europe’s seas account for the largest share of the world market in yachting tourism and tourist leisure craft (with the Mediterranean accounting for 70%), while cruise shipping is a rapidly growing sector, with steadily increasing world-wide demand.

Coastal and maritime tourism have the potential to make a decisive contribution to the diversification of the European tourism product and to expanding economic activity in the hinterland, with special emphasis on the connection between the primary and tertiary sectors, thereby benefiting European tourism and Europe’s economy as a whole in many different ways.

However, the subsectors of coastal and marine tourism are faced with major challenges, such as fragmentation that undermines cohesion between the EU’s coastal regions, seasonality, the lack of infrastructure, the lack of diversification and innovation of the product in question, seasonal changes in employment combined with a high degree of concentration of unskilled personnel, high demands as regards sustainability and compliance with environmental commitments, the urgent need to address the effects of climate change, increasing demand in the international tourism market for high-level tourist services and pressure from growing international competition.

***

If blue growth sectors are to develop and fully realise their potential to contribute to Europe’s economy, strategic planning at EU level is needed to ensure coordination and synergies between existing policies and the development of new initiatives and instruments. In order to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by blue growth, public and private sector operators must join forces and work in a single political framework that takes into account the EU’s new priorities.


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (24.4.2013)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on Blue Growth – Enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors

(2012/2297(INI))

Rapporteur: Seán Kelly

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Highlights the role of sea-basin strategies in fostering balanced, integrated regional development, as well as economic, territorial and social cohesion, revitalising the European economy, encouraging inclusive blue growth, creating jobs and protecting the marine and coastal biodiversity; calls for such strategies, linked to current and future macro-regional strategies, to be effectively rolled out and for appropriate financial and administrative resources to be targeted on their implementation and on making funding available under EU programmes such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Horizon 2020, the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF);

2.  Takes the view that the role played by the regions in drawing up Union strategies needs to be strengthened in order to develop a solid and sustainable blue economy;

3.  Calls for a focus on leveraging synergies across EU policies and instruments to support and develop regional and cross-border maritime clusters; welcomes initiatives at Member State and regional level, such as Ireland’s INFOMAR programme; stresses the need for multi-level governance and thorough public participation in decision making; considers the maritime transport of goods to be an alternative to long-distance road transport, and calls for maritime routes to be developed, particularly in the Atlantic arc and the Mediterranean basin;

4.  Stresses the need for legal certainty for all stakeholders to invest in maritime areas, and supports fresh incentives to boost the exploitation of Member States’ exclusive economic zones; calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to agree on clear, uniform, transparent and practical maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management plans that will ensure that the many different uses and activities in these zones are carried on in a sustainable manner;

5.  Notes the potential for offshore wind, tidal, wave and ocean thermal energy, as well as the conventional offshore energy sector, to generate sustainable jobs in coastal regions, reduce emissions and contribute to the EU’s medium and long-term energy targets; highlights the fact that significant investment in redeveloping grid connections and in transmission capacity will be required to exploit this potential;

6.  Stresses that the fisheries sector is an integral part of blue growth and that employment in sustainable fisheries should be considered a priority, particularly given the EU’s increasing dependence on imports of fisheries and aquaculture products from non-EU countries;

7.  Underlines the role of artisanal, small-scale fishing and sustainable aquaculture in promoting regional development in coastal areas and in lake and waterway areas; notes that 90 % of aquaculture businesses in the EU are SMEs, providing 80 000 jobs, and highlights the great potential for green job development in other marine-related activities; calls, in that context, for innovative, sustainable methods to be supported, via the EMFF, to promote the development of fisheries, marine biology and aquaculture, particularly in deep water alongside offshore wind farms;

8.  Recognises that blue biotechnology offers an enormous potential for tackling global societal challenges, such as protecting the environment, including the marine environment, food problems, halting biodiversity loss and the fight against climate change and its consequences; calls for synergies between regional and innovation policies in order to develop research infrastructure to harness this sector;

9.  Calls for tourism to be promoted and sustained as a driver for growth and jobs in coastal areas; takes the view that a healthy environment is fundamental to any form of tourism in coastal regions and that every effort must therefore be made to protect it; highlights the need to provide sustainable infrastructure for the development of new forms of tourism, in particular tourism sectors with high growth potential, such as eco-agro- fishing tourism and sustainable water sports; welcomes initiatives to promote crossborder tourism strategies on a sea-basin basis;

10. Takes the view that the outermost regions and the Overseas Countries and Territories enjoy a privileged geostrategic position, forming the European Union’s borders with the world, and believes that they should be involved in the strategic definition of blue economy activities; notes also the recent discoveries of rare earth materials and hydrocarbons in these regions; stresses the need to encourage the exploitation of these new resources in the most sustainable way possible; calls for pilot projects to be set up to monitor such innovative and sustainable exploration and exploitation techniques; stresses the need to improve these regions’ integration in the single market, taking into account their special characteristics in accordance with Article 349 TFEU, in order for the entire European Union to benefit from their assets;

11. Points out that the outermost regions could serve as natural laboratories for research and development activities related to renewable energies and the maritime economy; draws attention to the importance of the tourism sector for these regions and to the possibility of setting up logistics platforms to facilitate the transport of goods between Europe and the other global economies; highlights the strategic importance of maritime transport and links between the outermost regions and other areas on the mainland;

12. Highlights the added value of the European Strategy for the Atlantic in terms of maritime spatial planning, accessibility of territories and the competitiveness of maritime industries, and calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regional authorities to let its methodology guide them in making the best use of coastal areas and their hinterland.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.4.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

42

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Luís Paulo Alves, Catherine Bearder, Jean-Jacob Bicep, Victor Boştinaru, John Bufton, Nikos Chrysogelos, Ryszard Czarnecki, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Danuta Maria Hübner, Vincenzo Iovine, María Irigoyen Pérez, Seán Kelly, Constanze Angela Krehl, Petru Constantin Luhan, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Riikka Manner, Iosif Matula, Miroslav Mikolášik, Jens Nilsson, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Jan Olbrycht, Wojciech Michał Olejniczak, Younous Omarjee, Markus Pieper, Monika Smolková, Georgios Stavrakakis, Csanád Szegedi, Nuno Teixeira, Justina Vitkauskaite, Oldřich Vlasák, Kerstin Westphal, Joachim Zeller

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Joseph Cuschieri, Karima Delli, James Nicholson, Ivari Padar, Herbert Reul, Elisabeth Schroedter, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Patrice Tirolien, Giommaria Uggias, Manfred Weber


OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries (24.4.2013)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on Blue Growth - Enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors

(2012/2297(INI))

Rapporteur: Nikolaos Salavrakos

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls the strategic importance of the fishing industry for ‘Blue Growth’ in terms of the supply of fish and the food balance in the European Union, as well as its considerable contribution to socio-economic well-being in coastal communities; recalls further that the EU imports over 60 % of the fish it consumes from third countries;

2.  Acknowledges that the seas and oceans will increasingly play a key role in global economic growth in the future; considers that the ‘Blue Growth’ strategy, as part of the Integrated Maritime Policy, will encourage the development of synergies and coordinated policies in the fisheries and aquaculture sector amongst others¸ thus generating European added value and contributing to job creation in the marine sector;

3.  Emphasises that aquaculture and fisheries should contribute to food production on a sustainable basis throughout the Union and to long-term food security and consumer protection; considers that the development and innovation of a sustainable aquaculture and fish processing industry should be encouraged, by cutting down bureaucracy and promoting employment opportunities in these sectors, improving the quality of life in both coastal and rural areas;

4.  Recognises the advantages of growth in different marine sectors, e.g. the development of offshore energy installations and marine mineral mining and the importance of attracting investments in that respect; stresses, however, that when realising these activities the utmost attention must be paid to avoiding damage to the marine environment and to fishing grounds; supports, in this connection, the development of Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management as a means of achieving a coherent and effective use of marine space; maintains that these planning and management tools have to be applied at the practical level in order to gauge the cumulative impact of the numerous human activities carried out at sea and in coastal areas;

5.  Welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a directive establishing a framework for Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management and stresses the importance of coherence in its future application;

6.  Stresses the importance of marine and maritime research and of data collection and exchange in understanding and taking account of the complex interaction between the various maritime sectors as well as for the development of sustainable fishing that is respectful of the environment and takes into account the social and economic needs of coastal and island communities;

7.  Acknowledges that protecting Europe’s maritime borders is a challenge for Member States; considers that a successful blue economy requires secure EU maritime borders, with a view to ensuring the protection of the marine environment, fisheries controls, the combat of illegal fishing as well as law enforcement; points, therefore, to the importance of setting up a European coastguard to coordinate operations and surveillance at sea; furthermore, stresses the importance of stepping up regional cooperation initiatives relating to the fisheries sector;

8.  Stresses the importance of the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which for the first time combines Integrated Maritime Policy and fisheries funding, as well as of the European Investment Bank (EIB), in supporting the sustainable and environmentally friendly development of fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing, as well as revenue diversification in the fishing communities dependent on those sectors, in particular in respect of small-scale coastal fisheries, vocational training for women and young people and attracting new entrepreneurs to the sector;

9.  Urges the EU to pursue ambitious international agreements aimed at improving management of fisheries, using as its benchmark its internal strategy for sustainable blue growth;

10. Stresses the importance of coastal regions and of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism for the development of an all-inclusive social and green maritime economy; urges the Commission to develop specific programmes dedicated to the development of fishing, coastal, maritime and cruise tourism, and other areas of economic development linked to the sea and to fishing activity, thus contributing to the socio-economic development of local communities; underlines the importance of the coexistence of mutually enhancing skills, essential in order to protect existing jobs and stimulate employment along maritime regions;

11. Points out that due account must be paid to the particular geography of the outermost regions.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.4.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

3

0

Members present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Antonello Antinoro, Kriton Arsenis, Chris Davies, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Dolores García-Hierro Caraballo, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Ian Hudghton, Werner Kuhn, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Isabella Lövin, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Crescenzio Rivellini, Ulrike Rodust, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Struan Stevenson, Isabelle Thomas, Nils Torvalds, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ole Christensen, Jean Louis Cottigny, Diane Dodds, Barbara Matera, Gesine Meissner, Jens Nilsson, Nikolaos Salavrakos


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

30.5.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Magdi Cristiano Allam, Inés Ayala Sender, Georges Bach, Erik Bánki, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Antonio Cancian, Michael Cramer, Joseph Cuschieri, Christine De Veyrac, Saïd El Khadraoui, Ismail Ertug, Carlo Fidanza, Jacqueline Foster, Franco Frigo, Mathieu Grosch, Jim Higgins, Juozas Imbrasas, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Georgios Koumoutsakos, Werner Kuhn, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Gesine Meissner, Hubert Pirker, Dominique Riquet, Petri Sarvamaa, Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, Olga Sehnalová, Brian Simpson, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Giommaria Uggias, Peter van Dalen, Patricia van der Kammen, Dominique Vlasto, Artur Zasada, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Phil Bennion, Spyros Danellis, Isabelle Durant, Gilles Pargneaux, Sabine Wils, Janusz Władysław Zemke

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Josef Weidenholzer

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