In March 2005, the European Commission announced a European Integrated Maritime Policy. In June 2006, the Green Paper ‘on a European Maritime Policy’ was published. The Commission then started a comprehensive consultation process (IMP-001), which resulted in a Commission Communication, called: ‘Blue Paper - Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union’. This Blue Paper was presented to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. (IMP-002, IMP-003 and IMP-004). On 14 December 2007, the Council agreed on the further development and execution of the Action Plan belonging to the above-mentioned Communication.
The Integrated Maritime Policy has a two-pillar approach. The first pillar is the Lisbon-agenda concerning employment and growth. The second pillar is the Götenborg-agenda, which concerns sustainability. The second pillar has, amongst others, been integrated in a European Marine Strategy, which has been anchored in the meantime into the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (see chapter 41). This Marine Strategy forms the environmental pillar of the European Maritime Policy.
The Communication forms the basis of a governance framework and a cross sector instrument for a Community Integrated Maritime Strategy. It also gives an overview of the most important activities for which the Commission sees itself mandated. The guiding principles for these actions are subsidiary, competition, the ecosystems approach and the participation of all relevant stakeholders.
The Action Plan illustrates the extent and the diversity of the work that has to be accomplished. The following projects are particularly important for seaports:
- Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management. In 2008 the European Commission published a Road Map on Maritime Spatial Planning, see chapter 44 (MSP).
- European Maritime Transport Space Without Barriers. On 30 November 2010, the European Commission started ‘Blue Belt’, a pilot project by which sea-going vessels can move freely in the Internal Market with a minimum of administrative formalities, commonly associated with maritime transport. The Blue Belt project joins the Motorways of the Seas initiative. By easing administrative formalities, the Commission hopes to bring a model shift from road to coastal navigation (see also chapter 10).
- Seaport Policy. In the frame of the Communication of the European Commission on a European Ports Policy, guidelines were announced on the implementation of EU environmental and ecological rules connected to seaport development (see also chapters 5 and 30).
- Air pollution by ships. The European Commission wanted to promote the use of shore-side electricity in European ports. In that extent, the Commission planned a series of initiatives (see chapter 33).
- Scrapping of vessels. Further developments to the European initiatives concerning a strategy for the scrapping of vessels are planned (see also chapter 29).
- European Maritime Day. In the meantime, the European Commission declared 20 May to be the European Maritime Day. The event has been celebrated since 2009, with editions in Rome, Gijón, Gdansk and Gothenburg.
Progress report 2009
On 15 October 2009, the European Commission published a progress report with the results of the Integrated European Maritime Policy. This report was presented to the Council. On the basis of the outcome of the Council meeting of 16 October 2009, the European Commission presented a programme for further development of the Integrated European Maritime Policy. The budget is 50 million euros for the period 2011-2013. The programme has six key components: (1) Integrated Maritime Governance, (2) pin pointing of specific challenges and needs, (3) Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, (4) building a Marine Knowledge base, (5) active search for synergies and sharing of information and (6) sustainable economic growth.
The European Parliament gave its support to the Commission proposal published on 21 October 2010 ‘on the development of the Integrated European Maritime Policy - Evaluation of progress made and new challenges’. The available budget for 2014 depends on the Financial Perspectives (overall EU budget). The European Parliament called on the Commission to investigate all available options, including a proposal of the Committee of the Regions for a Coastal Fund.
Communication Blue Growth 2012
On 13 September 2012, the Commission published a Communication on “Blue Growth: opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth??. The Commission identified five areas where additional effort at EU level could provide further stimulus, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy: maritime, coastal and cruise tourism, Blue energy, marine mineral resources, aquaculture and blue biotechnology. With increasing awareness of the blue economy and with further analysis, other promising areas for EU policymaking may emerge. The Communication launched a consultation process which will place the blue economy on the agenda of Member States, regions, enterprise and civil society. This consultation process aims at providing the extra push that the blue economy needs.
Some relevant documents:
IMP-005: Communication from the European Commission on “Blue Growth: opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth?? to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions.
IMP-004: Accompanying document to the communication "An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union" (European Commission)
IMP-003: Communication “Conclusions from the Consultation on a European Maritime Policy?? (European Commission)
IMP-002: Communication “An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union?? (European Commission)
IMP-001: Green Paper “Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas?? (European Commission)