European Maritime Day makes a splash
European Maritime Day is celebrated annually on 20th May. The main event is a conference bringing together the maritime community, representatives of the EU institutions as well as of industry, NGOs and research institutes.
This year the conference is celebrated on 28th and 29th May in Piraeus, Greece. It is dedicated to ports and coast as gateways to maritime growth. More than 90 per cent of EU’s foreign trade is carried out by sea. More than 200 million people live in coastal regions, 88 million work there - 5.4 million of them in the maritime sector. Recent studies expect that the Blue Economy will be in a few years the biggest economic sector in the world. Currently it has a global annual turnover of 1.500 billion Euros.
The conference was opened by Commissioner Karmenu Vella and ALDE-MEP Gesine Meissner as representative of the European Parliament and President of the Intergroup Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas.
In her speech Mrs Meissner stressed:
“The EU is a Union of the Sea. Including the outermost regions there is more sea than land under EU jurisdiction. The economic, environmental and social dimension of our seas is of key importance, regionally, EU-wide and globally. It is our ports which connect European industry with the rest of the world and are crucial for Europe’s competitiveness.
We need an ambitious European maritime agenda to foster a blue growth of the maritime sector. Water doesn’t stop at borders. We need a strong transnational maritime cooperation based on common standards defined at European level.”