Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2010/0257(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0163/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0163/2011

Debates :

PV 17/11/2011 - 3
CRE 17/11/2011 - 3

Votes :

PV 17/11/2011 - 6.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0508

Debates
Thursday, 17 November 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

3. Further development of an integrated maritime policy (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  President. – The first item is the report by Georgios Koumoutsakos, on behalf of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy [COM(2010)0494 - C7-0292/2010 - 2010/0257(COD)] (Α6-0163/2011).

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Georgios Koumoutsakos, rapporteur. (EL) Madam President, the integrated maritime policy is a new Union policy. It is a dynamic policy with a great deal of potential and numerous promising prospects. The benefits from coordinating and cooperating on the numerous economic activities connected with the sea are, I believe, self-evident.

The integrated maritime policy will not only benefit the coastal states. The whole of Europe and the European economy will benefit, as the web of economic activities bound up with the sea stretches far and wide and their impact is felt directly by the entire economy and by large sections of the population. We should not forget that man’s economic activities at sea and on shore generate 40% of EU GDP and, according to forecasts, there is still great potential for growth.

If we coordinate and cooperate on ocean-going shipping and short-haul shipping, fisheries and aquaculture, renewable energy sources and protection of the maritime environment, coastal tourism and the development of island areas, this web of activities will maximise the potential for sustainable development, employment and innovation. That is why it is extremely important for us to promote integrated maritime governance, as provided for in the integrated maritime policy.

The question that arises is this: will all this be possible with the limited budget of EUR 40 million for between now and 2012 provided for in the regulation under discussion? Obviously not. We are talking here about a new policy which is in the very early stages of application and, as we all well know, even the longest journey starts with a first step. What we need in order to make the journey – any journey – a success, including this journey, is for this first step to be firm and decisive. It needs to be made with faith and optimism in the success of the ultimate objective. This faith, decisiveness and dynamism are successfully reflected in the regulation on which we shall vote today. As for the future, the text emphasises – and this is an important point – that the integrated maritime policy should be included in the financial perspective 2014-2021.

I also wish to highlight the particular importance of the international aspect of the integrated maritime policy and cooperation under it with third countries. This cooperation will bring tangible returns if based on respect for the international law of the sea and the relevant international conventions, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which forms an integral part of the Community acquis. All this is set out clearly in the text of the resolution we shall be voting on, which is another important point.

As far as general objectives are concerned, on which I shall comment briefly, it is important to make provision for measures that promote the development and application of integrated maritime and coastal governance; contribute to the utilisation of cross-sectoral instruments, especially maritime planning and the common information exchange platform; promote protection of the maritime environment and biodiversity; support the development and application of sea-basin strategies; improve and strengthen external cooperation and the international aspects of the policy; and, finally, support sustainable development, growth and employment and innovation and new technologies in all coastal, island and outermost regions of the Union.

To close, I believe that we have done a good job today. We can vote on a good financing regulation to support a dynamic new Union policy. May I thank everyone – there are too many to name – who worked to bring about this positive result today. The negotiations and discussions were long and complex and lasted several months. I must highlight the excellent cooperation on the part of the Commission and with the two Council Presidencies and, above all, the excellent cooperation and support given to me by the shadow rapporteurs from all the political groups.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. (EL) Mr Koumoutsakos, I wish to thank you for the excellent cooperation we have enjoyed and for everything you have contributed to the present debate. I can endorse everything you said today. This is just the first step, but we have made an important start.

Madam President, this is a very important moment for our integrated maritime policy (IMP). While money is not the only issue, this is a start: we have had a difficult year of negotiations and now we have the possibility of the IMP being provided with its own financial base. So I am very pleased that we have come this far.

What we are talking about from now on is no longer a fledgling policy but an independent policy, and that is the most important aspect of this discussion. We now have a free-standing maritime policy that can tap the economic potential of the sea, can boost growth and jobs and can contribute to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

I have already thanked Mr Koumoutsakos, but I would also like to thank all the shadow rapporteurs and the members of the Fisheries Committee and the other committees for their contributions, which have enabled us to come this far. Let me stress once more that your support for this package today will help us deliver concrete results tomorrow – and that is what we aim to do. Until now we have been relying on the preparatory actions and pilot projects that we had put forward in 2008, but these could be financed only until the end of 2010. Your support today will ensure that the ongoing initiatives do not have to be stopped midway, before they can actually bear fruit.

The negotiations we have been holding with you and the Council have led us to extend the operational objectives but, above all, they have helped us at the Commission to understand your expectations better: they have made it crystal clear that we should give priority only to actions of a truly integrated nature that cannot be funded elsewhere. So this is how we intend to use this amount of money: EUR 40 million is not a large sum, but we are going to fund only projects which cannot be funded elsewhere, including in the fields of maritime spatial planning, maritime surveillance and marine knowledge. We intend to take a sea-basin approach: we are going to develop sea-basin strategies and cross-cutting tools that will help coastal communities and regions to expand their economies.

If this regulation is adopted, the Commission will shortly propose a work programme detailing the specific actions we intend to launch, based on the general and operational objectives defined in the regulation for 2011-2013.

In conclusion, this compromise package seems well balanced both in terms of policy expectations and in terms of the means provided for effective and timely delivery. I certainly look forward to hearing your views in the debate because I think we can work together.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Damien Abad, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Budgets. (FR) Madam President, I rise on behalf of my fellow MEP and member of the Committee on Budgets, Dominique Riquet, who would first like to commend the work done by Georgios Koumoutsakos on this issue. I think that we can all welcome the consensus observed between the European institutions and between the various political groups on the need to ensure the future development of the integrated maritime policy.

In continuing the exploratory work begun with the preparatory actions and the pilot projects, we are ensuring that the European Union’s maritime ambitions are reflected in all the sectors concerned: environment, transport, energy, research, industry, fisheries and regional policy.

Looking beyond this support, and because the integrated maritime policy needs to flourish, we have to ensure better management of expenditure in this area. In this regard, the conclusions of the trialogue seem to me to be a good compromise. The envelope proposed – EUR 40 million over the period 2011-2013 – does not jeopardise the funding of other policies, and a mid-term report on the state of play of the integrated maritime policy is also due in December 2012.

On behalf of my colleague Mr Riquet, I should like to say that we are simply sorry that the European Parliament has not been involved more in the drafting of the work programme for this policy, which will be adopted by means of an implementing act.

Lastly, we now need to ensure that funding for the policy is secure in the next multiannual financial framework.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development.(ES) Madam President, the coastal regions, seas and oceans are undoubtedly of fundamental importance for the economic growth of the European Union and all its Member States.

Following the Commission’s communication, an ‘Action Plan for an integrated maritime policy for the European Union’, known as the ‘Blue Book’, we are now in the current situation where the idea of an integrated maritime policy is welcome, and what it does and aims to do is certainly to make better use of the opportunities the sea provides.

They know that this idea will form the basis for specific environmental and maritime transport policies which are so important for all these areas and for energy, research, fishing and regional policies. All of these aspects are, of course, vital for all these regions.

I myself, on behalf of the Committee on Regional Development, fully support the proposal for a regulation and, furthermore, we believe that the EUR 40 million allocated for the current 2011-2013 period is sufficient. I should also like to say that it would be necessary for this funding to continue into the future, after 2014, since we need to consolidate the process that has been initiated and thereby ensure the continuation of such a promising course of action.

I should also like to say that there should be a consistent approach to all the seas within the European Union so that we can see the range of projects and gain real first-hand knowledge of what the issues are in each sea basin.

Clearly, the problems of the North Sea are not the same as those of the Mediterranean; hence, it would be valuable to adopt a consistent approach in order to discover more about this diversity.

I should like to congratulate the rapporteur and the various opinions that have been drafted to finalise a programme which we see as of great importance for the future of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Alain Cadec, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Fisheries. (FR) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the huge potential of the sea is a decisive factor in the competitiveness of the European Union, particularly in the areas of sustainable development, safety at sea and on land, and energy and food supplies, which are also objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

A link is being established between new and innovative sectors and the traditional maritime sectors of fishing and maritime transport. These new sectors include, for example, the creation of offshore wind parks, investment in technology relating to wave energy, offshore aquaculture and that which is referred to as ‘blue technology’.

We can therefore say that the integrated maritime policy (IMP) is regarded as a key priority for sustainable growth in the European Union. The IMP promotes synergies between all EU policies relating to the oceans, the seas and, hence, the coast of Europe. This policy must result in more robust action spread across the various areas of the IMP and in a better cost-efficiency ratio of investments in the maritime sector. That is why proper financial provision must be made for the IMP, which must be implemented quickly to ensure smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Our rapporteur, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, who cannot be here today, had the pleasure of working on this report on the IMP with our colleague, Georgios Koumoutsakos, who spoke earlier.

I am grateful to them both; they have done an excellent job. They have based their work on pilot projects and on IMP-related preparatory actions that ended in late 2010. It is important to ensure that funding for these actions continues until 2013. As from 2013, the IMP will have to rely on a specific financial instrument: the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

This report provides the IMP with a stable financial framework for the period 2011-2012 by granting it a budget of 40 million, as Commissioner Damanaki said. We hope that the budget will be sufficient to meet a wide range of objectives linked to the development of European cross-sectoral maritime activities.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Crescenzio Rivellini, on behalf of the PPE Group.(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I should like to congratulate Mr Koumoutsakos on his excellent work. The proposal in question aims to provide the integrated maritime policy with a stable financial framework for the 2011-2013 period by establishing a financial envelope of around EUR 50 million. The proposed sum, while on the low side, represents a reasonable basis and will have to be increased in the future.

I also believe that it is necessary to allocate specific resources to develop and strengthen the integrated maritime policy in the next multiannual financial period starting in 2014. This is of vital importance in order to ensure that all the progress and investments already made are not wasted. The process of defining the next financial perspective has already begun, and given that the integrated maritime policy figures among the EU’s priorities, consistency demands that this policy be awarded adequate funds sufficiently in advance.

Today more than ever, we need not only to continue in this direction, but also and especially to renew and strengthen maritime policy in the EU, keeping in mind our responsibilities in this sector and starting from the point of view that it is possible to reconcile an increase in economic maritime activities with protection of the environment, and to develop a link between the two by putting in place suitable governance and appropriate cross-cutting mechanisms.

Therefore, I believe that the first objective in strengthening the integrated maritime policy must be to encourage maximisation of the sustainable exploitation of the oceans while encouraging the growth of maritime industries and coastal regions. I also believe that the promotion of sustainable development, the protection and use of coastal maritime resources, and the development of individualised sea basin strategies should be included among the programme’s general objectives, which should be substantiated by more specific rules on spending, and that the European Parliament should be appropriately involved in its implementation.

In addition, we need to continue with the creation of a basis of knowledge and innovation, and for this purpose, it is essential to present a global European strategy for marine and maritime research. In this context, the European Union has already taken its first important steps, by providing EUR 3.9 million in funding to the European Marine Biological Research Centre, an executive project with its institutional and administrative base in Naples, Italy. Therefore, Madam President and Commissioner, I believe it is right to continue along this road.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Guido Milana, on behalf of the S&D Group.(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, it was wonderful to work with Mr Koumoutsakos. We worked well together, we had a good trialogue, and therefore my thanks are not merely formal but truly meant. We have become friends during this debate, and I think this friendship will probably lead us to give the Commission a hand because, Commissioner, the problem is the future.

What we have achieved today has been thanks to Parliament, because if it had been down to the Council – incidentally absent today – we would not have achieved this result. A proposal of EUR 50 million was cut by the Council, and it is only thanks to the tough stand taken by myself and Mr Koumoutsakos that the Commission has been able to receive this EUR 40 million.

The Commission can count on us for the future. It can count on a Parliament that believes in what it says. This Parliament is convinced to the extent that it knows perfectly well that the sea is made up of seas, coastlines and activities, and that there needs to be a common vision of these things. Coastlines cannot be the subject of urban and land planning that ends at the foreshore. The EU and Member States need to appreciate that town planning includes the sea – it does not end on the coastline.

The activities themselves need to become compatible with one another. We need to initiate real planning in which tourism, fishing, mining and – why not? – the amazing wind energy that can be developed offshore can be an asset and mutually compatible, in the same way that fishing and fishing activities cannot be treated separately and considered only in terms of fishing methods and quantities. There, the focus will have to be on pollution-related issues, because dwindling fish stocks are not just the result of fishing.

Commissioner, you have a major ally in Parliament. The problem will not be how to spend this EUR 40 million, but how we will all manage to have sufficient resources between 2013 and 2020 to do such important and wonderful things.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Pat the Cope Gallagher, on behalf of the ALDE Group.(GA) Madam President, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak on this very important matter, the development of the European Union’s integrated maritime policy, and would like to congratulate the rapporteur.

Ireland is one of the true maritime nations of the European Union. We possess ten times more territory offshore than on land. We must capitalise on our vast marine resource so as to create, and of course to maintain, sustainable economic growth and jobs for coastal communities in the near future.

The Maritime Institute, which was visited by Commissioner Damanaki and her Irish colleague, based in my Euro-constituency in Galway is to the forefront in developing new possibilities through different initiatives with economic sectors as diverse as ICT, food biotechnology, shipping, financial services, ocean energy and new research into deep-sea species. The development of Killybegs in my own county as a renewable energy services hub, the regional plan for the Shannon Estuary and the WestWave project are concrete examples of new initiatives being developed off the Irish coastline at present.

The launch of the integrated strategy for the Atlantic area, which will take place in Lisbon on 28 November, is an important development. I strongly believe and support a coordinated strategy for the Atlantic area from the north of Scotland, through Ireland, through France, through Spain and Portugal. I believe all of that will result in economic benefits for coastal communities located along the Atlantic arc.

I want to give an example of how we can regenerate. I believe that regeneration of the infrastructural facilities in many small coastal ports and islands along this arc, including my own country, would result in tangible benefits. I am thinking in particular of the ports that have suffered as a result of the decline in fish landings. We have an obligation to assist these people and their ports. I believe that a small investment via the Fisheries Fund – or indeed the Cohesion Fund or through this EUR 40 million – could provide water-based facilities such as marinas and will provide better facilities for tourists and leisure crafts.

This is not necessarily a new concept. If we look at the Common Agricultural Policy, there is an envelope of funding within that for rural development. I want to highlight one sentence from the Commissioner’s statement today. She wants to help coastal communities to extend their economies and I welcome that statement.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Keith Taylor, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, the Greens support the measures contained in the Koumoutsakos report today, and welcome the opportunity we have for an agreement at first reading.

It is necessary – as has been so eloquently pointed out by other speakers – to provide some interim funding so that proper allocations can start from 2013. As it happens, we were unable to secure the amount originally envisaged, but nevertheless there is EUR 40 million available from unspent budget allocations. That money will go towards integrating maritime policy around the development of short sea shipping, the detection of illegal fishing, the integration of sea-basin strategies and maritime surveillance and, importantly, protection of the marine environment.

We have particularly enjoyed working with the rapporteur. We now welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with other agencies, notably the European Maritime Safety Agency with its SafeSeaNet programme. Colleagues, please use your vote later today to support this jolly good idea.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, on behalf of the ECR Group.(PL) Madam President, I would like to start by thanking the rapporteur for his excellent performance. The integrated maritime policy is important for numerous spheres of the EU economy. It also forms part of the cultural heritage and is an element of public awareness. Given its huge importance, the European Commission must treat this report with special attention. Lack of explicit and clear regulations in the sphere of the maritime economy is one of the reasons behind the collapse of this industry.

A question suggests itself: why are most vessels manufactured outside of the European Union? What explanation is there for businesses also having their vessels registered outside of the European Union? And finally, why does being employed as a sailor or a fisherman command such little prestige? There are many more similar questions here and all of them should be answered if the maritime economy were to be treated seriously. Given the lack of a good and favourable law, yet another industry shall be lost to the Far Eastern countries that have created favourable conditions for the development of the maritime industry.

This is primarily a blow to the innovation economy, for the maritime industry is a source of innovativeness, which is the motto on the banners of the European Union. In my country, Poland, as a consequence of the decision made by the European Commission, the government has dismantled the shipbuilding industry and provided no other alternative, while the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, contrary to international conventions, has completely blocked the development of Polish ports. As an MEP and a former sailor, I urge the Commission to choose the adequate approach to the issue of the maritime economy.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos, on behalf of the EFD Group. (EL) Madam President, I could paraphrase Hemingway and say: ‘Europe and the Sea’, because Europe is surrounded by the sea and over half of all Europeans live within 50 kilometres of the coast. Obviously, therefore, the sea is an important factor in Community growth and growth policy and has a direct and indirect impact on many Union citizens. It is estimated that sectors connected with the exploitation of maritime resources account for over 5% of EU GDP, not including income from tourism generated by exploiting the coasts.

As such, I congratulate Mr Koumoutsakos on the work he has done, which supplements the Commission proposal by offering a comprehensive and balanced proposal for a regulation. I also consider the proposal made by Ms Patrão Neves to be very successful. I also sympathise with the general policy put forward by Commissioner Damanaki, which is fundamental and will, I believe, bring about better things for Europe.

I also believe that the rapporteur has put forward some essential proposals in connection with island and outermost regions and that, if we are to achieve sustainable growth in coastal regions and islands, we need to pay particular attention to links between islands and the mainland. However, what we need is to look at the development of the maritime economy and coastal regions and the preservation of maritime ecosystems as a single entity.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I wholly agree with what my colleague, Pat the Cope Gallagher, said on the importance of fishing to remote regions. Sometimes, fishing is all that exists, in terms of industry, employment and so on. I welcome this report since it is bringing certain aspects of the industry together.

The big breakthrough, President, in terms of fishery policy was the Green Paper for an integrated maritime policy published on 7 June 2006, because up until then, what we had were sectoral interests: fishing on the one hand, as against environmental considerations on the other. We have to recognise that what we need is a coherent approach; an integrated approach. What we need, on the one hand, is to see that fisheries are in remote areas very often the only sustainable economic activity while, on the other hand, we have to preserve them. That is why I particularly welcome this report and I congratulate the rapporteur.

Fisheries and aquaculture have their specific requirements and characteristics in terms of use of the maritime environment and the preservation of the conditions for the recovery and growth of fish stocks. This necessitates research, which is what this is all about: coming up with research, coming up with data, coming up with specifics so we can underpin fishery policy for the future.

From the point of view of the EU, the EU is a world power in fisheries and is the biggest market in the world as regards processed products using fish as a raw material. What we need to do is to ensure the sustainability and profitability of fishing – which is, after all, humanity’s oldest maritime activity. As a product of high nutritional value, fish is today – as always – a fundamental component of the European diet. Particularly at a time when we are talking about food sustainability and the availability of food, let us move forward. I think today is a very good day, so well done Commissioner, well done rapporteur, and thank you.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ismail Ertug (S&D).(DE) Madam President, Mr Koumoutsakos, ladies and gentlemen, the report on the Commission’s proposal for a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy is one way to achieve the objectives of the Treaty of Lisbon and to increase coherence between the various policy areas.

It is a welcome development that solutions have been sought on a cross-departmental basis in maritime policy and that an attempt has also been made to create synergies. Maritime policy goes beyond marine transport and fishing.

Industry, research and alternative power generation, as well as environmental protection, are areas that are inseparably associated with the classic aspects of maritime policy. For this reason, there is a need for improved coordination between policy areas and between Member States with access to the sea.

The report has improved on the Commission’s proposal on several counts. In this context, I expressly welcome the fact that more attention has been paid to environmental protection, the protection of species and the sustainable use of maritime resources, an aspect which, I must say, could have been given even more prominence in the Commission’s proposal.

Mr Koumoutsakos, I hope that you receive a broad negotiating mandate for your report and would also like to thank Mr Milana for his work and wish you all the best for the future.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). (DE) Madam President, Commissioner, I am pleased that we have been able to meet up again. I stood here one year ago in my capacity as rapporteur on the further development of an integrated maritime policy. We have now reached a position where we can actually anchor a fixed maritime policy in European policy making and where we will have the appropriate financial framework. This is the major advantage gained from Mr Koumoutsakos’s follow-up report.

For me, integrated maritime policy is not just what you might call a truly major concern, but also an enormously important future task for the European Union. It has already been pointed out that more of the earth is covered by water than land: the ratio is about 30% land to 70% water. There is a great deal of added value to be gained from water. This includes marine transport – 95% of all transport involves the sea – as well as, of course, fishing, research or offshore energy sources. We have a very broad range of options open to us when it comes to using the sea as a resource. We have just one earth and one mass of water, which is why we need to husband it as prudently as possible. This is a major challenge that we face. In practical terms, 40% of the EU’s gross domestic product comes from the IMP, the integrated maritime policy.

As I have already said, our major success this time round is that the IMP now has a fixed basis. Although we have not achieved the hoped for EUR 50 million, a figure I believed to be a certainty last year, we have received EUR 40 million, most of which will be spent on cross-border projects. After all, it is important that cooperation should be practised that embraces various countries.

Naturally I must express my sincere thanks to Mr Koumoutsakos. We made a good team when negotiating in the trialogue, which has now closed. We achieved an awful lot because we stuck together so well. Thank you again. I wish us both well with the integrated maritime policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter van Dalen (ECR).(NL) Madam President, sea transport is a vital element of European transport and the European economy. A great many jobs and a great deal of innovation has come from the maritime cluster. Europe is therefore right to be investing in strengthening this sector at this time. I always see this as a win-win situation.

EUR 40 million has now been made available for the stimulus fund for the integrated maritime policy. Madam President, I would like to also see some of that money spent on education for young people who are considering working in sea transport so that they are aware of the opportunities in sea transport and the relationship between sea transport and ecology. I hope that that is possible. I personally would also like to see support for green shipping technology from this fund. In any case, there should be no money spent on consultants or all kinds of committees or who knows what to sit around discussing strategies. That never leads to much by way of results. Above all then, let us not go down that route.

Finally, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Mr Koumoutsakos. We enjoyed excellent cooperation and you managed to produce a good report out of complex material. You have my sincere thanks.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE).(PT) Madam President, Commissioner, the integrated maritime policy (IMP) advocates a coordinated approach to the management and governance of the oceans, seas and coasts as part of a comprehensive and consistent perspective for all EU policies with a maritime dimension. Having a comprehensive, integrated perspective involves the interaction of all Union policies with a maritime dimension, and better governance through greater involvement in the EU decision-making process is required.

The success and relevance of this policy has been demonstrated in recent years through various funded initiatives, in the shape of preparatory actions and pilot projects. The IMP should, for this very reason, continue to benefit from adequate funding over the next few years of the current financial programming period.

In view of this, I advocate adequate funding until 2013 – not just in order to consolidate past projects – and I support the establishment of a stable framework on the objectives of this programme.

For obvious reasons, issues of maritime policy, governance, sustainability and security concern some regions of the European Union – such as the outermost regions – more than others. Given that, with the exception of French Guiana, the outermost regions are islands and small in size, they rely on a small number of economic activities; sea- and fishing-related activities are of particular importance in these regions.

Furthermore, it is thanks to the outermost regions that the European Union has the largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world. These make up more than half of the European Union’s EEZ – around 15 to 25 million km2 – and, together with the coastal regions, are fundamental to the economic growth of the European Union and its Member States.

A programme such as the IMP should benefit these regions by encouraging transnational coordination of maritime policies and significant international cooperation.

It is therefore necessary to ensure sufficient and continued funding, not just for the next two years, but also, and more importantly, for the next multiannual financial framework, which starts in 2014.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Madam President, Commissioner, ‘An integrated maritime policy for the European Union’, known as the ‘Blue Book’, was adopted in October 2007. The European Union’s integrated maritime policy ensures greater coherence between the measures adopted as part of the various policies which have an impact on maritime and coastal areas and the need to use these ecosystems’ resources in a manner that does not affect the environment. EUR 50 million is being allocated for the 2011-2013 period for implementing the programme to support the continuing development of the integrated maritime policy.

Member States and the European Union must support training, education and career opportunities in maritime professions, such as vocational training for those responsible for ships and shipping. I should emphasise the importance of research, development and the promotion of green technologies, marine renewable energy sources and shipping. As a result of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, the European Union is becoming a major player in the Black Sea region, which is of particular geostrategic significance for energy security and diversification of the European Union’s energy supply routes.

We call on the states bordering the Black Sea to sign a memorandum of understanding, with the aim of developing Black Sea maritime corridors, and we urge the Commission to open a TEN-T budget line which will fund the Black Sea maritime corridors, similar to the one used to fund the maritime corridors of the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Mediterranean. At the same time, we call on the Commission to develop a European Union strategy for the Black Sea similar to that for the Baltic Sea.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE).(ES) Madam President, firstly, I should like to congratulate the rapporteurs for this report and for their success.

The Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Fisheries have worked jointly, in accordance with Article 50. This has improved the initial document and made it more coherent, and it has lived up to its title as it is a comprehensive document on maritime policy.

The programme has an overall aim: to make decisions in relation to seas, coastal, island and outermost regions, and to the various maritime sectors, in a coordinated, coherent, transparent and sustainable way. It also has specific development objectives: to foster integrated maritime governance and develop instruments for sharing information in order to improve maritime surveillance and protection of the environment, among others, with funding that we hope to see continue and increase from 2014.

All of this aims to bring about economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development, with an international dimension, but with a guarantee, since the Council will have to present its impact on EU policies by December 2012, that the results of our decisions will be assessed.

In short, more governance, more Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Marit Paulsen (ALDE).(SV) Madam President, our seas can be very pleased that they now have a Commissioner that actually cares about them. That is progress! However, if we are to save our seas, fisheries and coastal communities, a new approach is needed. A new approach requires creativity and innovation, and innovation requires freedom and autonomy for individuals.

We therefore need to change parts of the support package that we have – in this case, for an integrated maritime policy, rural development and so on. We need to create loan funds so that innovators can borrow money on reasonable terms, which is something they cannot do under the current financing system. This would enable our common resources to go much further and would increase freedom.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jan Kozłowski (PPE).(PL) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the rapporteur for the enormous amount of work that went into the preparation of this splendid report. While discussing the future of the maritime policy, it is important to emphasise its importance for the European economy and its competitiveness. In order to take advantage of the potential of what is referred to as the ‘blue growth’ strategy, we should depart from sectoral thinking, introduce innovations and enhance the attractiveness of maritime professions, and increase the adaptability and mobility of the workforce.

At the same time, to put to good use the output of preparatory actions and pilot projects financed in 2010, it is necessary to urgently create a programme that would enable a smooth development of the integrated maritime policy, introduce such tools as CISE and promote intersectoral platforms and networks of cooperation.

I would also like to thank the Polish Presidency for their commitment and their consistent efforts and to express my hope that successive Presidencies shall continue their contribution towards developing an integrated maritime policy. Thank you.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Josefa Andrés Barea (S&D).(ES) Madam President, Commissioner, congratulations to the rapporteur, and to all the rapporteurs of the committees who have helped to improve this text.

The integrated maritime policy represents a joint vision of our seas or, even more, the protection of 70% of the planet. A balance between ecosystems, coastal populations and the sea as a means of communication is important, but neither should we forget new competitive forms of energy like wind farms or the harnessing of wave energy.

The population of coastal areas is of major social importance, it exceeds 50%, and many people make their living from fishing. Fishing is a crucial element in this report in terms of balance and sustainability, it can safeguard the equilibrium of the ecosystem, and, of course, research plays a major part.

I think the rapporteur has emphasised the importance of agreements with third countries, and Europe can contribute to maintaining the equilibrium of the ecosystem of those third countries through such agreements, so as to ensure the sustainability of our seas.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE).(RO) Madam President, I would like to highlight a problem which has still not been cleared up, relating to the future of the European integrated maritime policy. The Black Sea needs to be given its own place in this policy so as to be treated on an equal footing with the other sea basins. There should be a body for managing Black Sea fisheries, different to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. I think that the European Union must make every diplomatic effort possible to get the Black Sea states which are not part of the European Union to align as closely as possible with the principles of our common fisheries policy, as this is not only in the interests of the EU Member States bordering the Black Sea, but also in the interests of the EU as a whole.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D).(PT) Madam President, I am bound to take this opportunity, while on the subject of the integrated maritime policy (IMP), to highlight the huge potential that the Atlantic islands constitute for the European Union.

The Atlantic, as Europe’s western sea border, also has links with both North and South America, and with Africa. This gives it a strategic dimension for Europe, indispensable to the architecture of a maritime policy designed with the future in mind. It is with the future in mind that the IMP, besides promoting linkages between maritime activities, should give the utmost priority to unleashing the potential of all three Atlantic regions, on the basis of science and technology.

Analysis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, of the deep sea and of the seabed represents a new frontier with untapped potential in biotechnology and in mineral resources, and is of inestimable value for the knowledge economy. The Union should therefore take advantage of the privileged location of the Azores, and of the great skill of the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries of the University of the Azores, by setting up a deep-sea observatory there.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL).(PT) Madam President, the nature and particularities of the marine environment, the enormous and increasing diversity of activities that take place there today, and the need to regulate these activities, resolving potential conflicts in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, make it advisable to set out an integrated maritime policy (IMP) for this purpose.

Of course, the objectives, guiding principles and resources available for this policy will certainly have a part to play. We have serious reservations about and even disagreements with the way in which the IMP has been set out. It is often founded on a federalist approach to the IMP that does not respect the sovereignty and jurisdiction of each Member State with regard to their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, as well as linking it to the EU’s foreign policy objectives.

A maritime policy that was, instead, based on cooperation among the Member States, that naturally acknowledged the cross-border nature of the sea, but, at the same time, respected the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Member States, that promoted synergies, that increased added value, and that encouraged the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources, could undoubtedly have a positive impact.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I think this is a very good day for the Commission. I agree with everybody. All your remarks were very valuable, and I think that this proves that we are running a win-win situation here. Nevertheless, since we have only EUR 40 million for two years, we have to focus on our priorities for these two years. I would like to emphasise this. We are going to go for the best use of this limited funding.

Firstly, we are going to try to avoid any duplications and overlaps. This is very important. We are not going to fund projects that are already funded by other services or agencies.

Secondly, we have to create linkages between different sectors. Many of you underlined the need for creating linkages and better cooperation with other agencies, such as the EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) for transport or environmental agencies or research centres – for example our cooperation with the research services in Galway in Ireland and in other areas is very important – so that we can multiply the value of our money through this cooperation procedure.

We have also to work together with environmental services since the Marine Strategy Framework Directive has until now had no funding line for its implementation. We have now earmarked around 10% of our money for environmental policy and for implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

I say all this just to persuade you that we are taking a great step forward. To cut a long story short, we have exhausted the resources from our land; we are now turning to the sea and we have to be very cautious because there is a possibility of conflict there – a conflict of interests and various other conflicts. We have to be very cautious, or we are going to destroy the sea and the oceans, as we have done to a certain extent with our land. So we have to be very cautious.

We are also going to develop sea-basin strategies. We already have a sea-basin strategy for the Baltic. We are going to improve it. In two weeks, we are going to launch the procedure for an Atlantic strategy in Lisbon and then we have to address strategies for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. We have already taken the initiatives for these two areas.

What will be the area priorities? First, good governance; second, cross-sectoral rules – maritime surveillance, marine knowledge and maritime spatial planning; third, the environment; and fourth, blue growth.

Blue growth is the effort to give our coastal states the possibility to expand their growth and jobs strategies. This is what we are trying to do, but we also need to focus on some areas where we have not yet achieved good results. I have in mind maritime coastal tourism. We also have to explore the possibilities of sea bottom mapping and exploitation, as we have already mentioned. Then of course we have some blue ocean energy projects – not only wind energy, but energy from the sea. We are opening a consultation procedure and we very much welcome your involvement in this procedure.

I would to thank everybody, especially the rapporteur, Mr Koumoutsakos, and the shadow rapporteurs to the committees for their commitment here. I would like to say that we really need this. I hope that we will work together in the future in order to be sure about the next financial perspectives and appropriate funding of the maritime policy.

I would like to thank you all, and I rely on Parliament to work together on this.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: GILES CHICHESTER
Vice-President

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Georgios Koumoutsakos, rapporteur. – Mr President, thank you Madam Commissioner. I would like to warmly thank all the colleagues who took the floor contributing substantially to today’s discussions – a discussion that is not just important for the present but has a bright future. I would like to thank them for their friendly words.

Particularly in tough and challenging times, the EU shows with this Regulation that it can adopt policies with one objective: economic growth, employment, social cohesion and environmental protection. We can produce good news.

Mr President, before you took the floor, the chair was occupied by a Greek colleague, Mrs Podimata. In the Commission chair, we have a very well-known Greek politician, Mrs Damanaki, and it happens to be that the rapporteur for this regulation is a Greek one. I would like to conclude by saying to all of you that Greece can produce good news!

 
  
MPphoto
 

  President. – Thank you for that positive end to the debate. I can only apologise for not being a Greek in the chair.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place shortly.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing. (FR) The maritime area is changing. There are numerous challenges in this area, starting with the need for shared use. In particular, this means developing fishery-related jobs, which must be an objective of the common fisheries policy; strengthening maritime freight; harnessing the extraordinary industrial potential of offshore wind parks; and developing tourism activities. There can be no policy without a budget; we therefore need to ensure that the integrated maritime policy has its place in the future multiannual financial framework. However, I would say that, if this policy is to be a success, it is vital to get the Member States well and truly on board. This policy requires cross-sectoral but also transnational cooperation. However, in the Channel, transnational cooperation is waning. After 10 years of cofinancing an emergency tow vessel with France, the UK Government has now decided, as part of its cutbacks, to privatise its coastguard service, thereby reducing the safety of that sea crossing, one of the busiest in the world, which is being hit hard by the lack of a shared vision. An integrated maritime policy at European level must therefore be based on a synergy between national maritime policies, a synergy enhanced by a European ambition, which is itself equipped with adequate financial resources.

 
Legal notice - Privacy policy