A strong plea for exploiting the full potential of the EU's sea economy was voiced today in Brussels by the Socialists and Democrats Group during an event on "Promoting Blue Growth" chaired by S&D Group Vice-Presidents Isabelle Thomas and Kathleen Van Brempt.
The aim of the EU Blue Growth long-term strategy is to create a stable source of sustainable growth and employment in the marine and maritime economy, which it's estimated could generate 1.6 million jobs and an extra €100 billion of gross added value per year by 2020. With contributions from international experts and researchers, the event has addressed the great potential of the sea economy to help Europe´s economic recovery and has identified the main obstacles impeding this sector from reaching its full potential.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for budget and cohesion policy Isabelle Thomas said:
"Replacing plastic with seaweed, producing energy with tidal power, reducing maritime transport pollution with modern vessels, these are a few of the concrete paths which can be followed to build a more sustainable economy.
However, the EU must do more than talk, it must act by guaranteeing the budgetary means required, without budget this cannot be considered a priority. Any resources provided must be ring-fenced for research, innovation, data collection and training.
The potential to create jobs is huge, now is the time for us to invest in Blue Growth."
S&D Group vice-president responsible for sustainable development Kathleen Van Brempt, stated:
"Ocean renewable energy in the form of tides, waves and wind can deliver a large share of our energy needs in a stable, sustainable and predictable way. Combined with an interconnected super-grid, they have the potential to become our own European "blue field". But this "blue field" will not bring our climate into peril, rather it will deliver the energy we need at a predictable cost.
"The innovative technology required to make this vision a reality is being developed and deployed by European companies, and is a part of a whole supply chain of industries ready to be exported beyond the EU.
"Now that Europe is considering a new vision on energy, Blue Growth should be seen as an indivisible part of the European energy union and, as such, play a key role as source of solidarity in a common European energy-landscape. Let's hope the Juncker investment plan can help make this vision a reality."