Ministers commit to closer cooperation

18 Nov 2015
EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella welcomed the initiative

EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella welcomed the initiative

Ministers from 43 countries have signed a joint declaration on the blue economy, committing to promoting growth, jobs and investment in the marine and maritime sectors.

The declaration, which was signed on 17 November at the Ministerial Conference of the Union for the Mediterranean in Brussels, promises thriving coastal communities, bustling harbours and ports, clean beaches and new jobs for young people.

Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said: "Constructive cooperation can help bring stability to the region.

“Our joint commitment, under the agenda for blue growth, jobs and innovation, can at least contribute to a more secure and prosperous future for the people of the Mediterranean.”

Within the declaration is the EU’s BLUEMED initiative for research and development partnerships, and a forum on the blue economy. These will bring together all the countries in the region once a year to assess the progress which is being made.

The European Union is making over €40m available to help set up a regional network of maritime clusters to create a more business-friendly environment and promote entrepreneurship.

The joint speech from Mr Vella and Ayman Hatahet, Jordanian Minister for Transport, said: “At the same time, investing in blue growth is not just about investing in our economies. It’s also about investing in sustainability and, most importantly, in people.”

It was said that in the EU alone, the blue economy could unlock an additional two million jobs by 2020.

Through the European Neighborhood Initative there are plans to launch €17m worth of technical assistance to the maritime policy of the Mediterranean region.

The Commission was also said to be dedicating around €7m to support blue careers, blue technologies and blue labs. Partners around the Mediterranean are also welcome to apply.

The joint statement concluded: "All our 43 countries forming the Union for the Mediterranean are united by the sea. Through our strategic cooperation and development let’s try to put in place the building blocks for a more stable and economically successful future.

“Let’s aim that in 2018, when Ministers will meet again, a foundation for strong blue growth will have been built for and by the people of the region.”

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