Norway welcomes maritime action plan

Last updated: 08.06.2009 // Today the European Commission presented an action plan for the EU’s integrated maritime policy. Marine and maritime issues are of key importance to Norway. This is an area where, thanks to our long coastline and maritime history, we have world-class expertise and knowledge.

“The EU and Norway have similar positions on maritime affairs, and we have followed the process leading up to the presentation of the action plan closely. Norway became involved at an early stage, and has provided input for the Commission. We have the impression that this has been appreciated,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The EU’s action plan covers industries and jobs connected with the sea. The aim is to ensure that these industries are able to compete in an environmentally sustainable way. Nearly half of the livelihoods and GDP in the EU have ties to the coastal regions. The economic zones of the sea are larger than the land areas and may be extended. Maritime transport is the backbone of the globalised economy. Major European industries such as shipbuilding and shipping are under strong international pressure. At the same time, there are many new users that are increasing pressure on these coastal regions. Today the EU has legislation covering many areas that are significant for maritime activities (such as fisheries, aquaculture, the environment, transport, maritime safety, oil production, research and innovation, and business policy), but it has not previously had an integrated maritime policy. One of the key features of the action plan is that it looks at existing policy areas in context, and seeks to create synergy effects between them. Norway has been taking this approach to the management of its maritime areas for a long time.

The EU action plan includes 26 concrete recommended actions in these areas. The Government will study these recommendations closely and will submit its comments to the EU.

“I see that the plan focuses strongly on knowledge, research and innovation. We in Norway have considerable knowledge in the marine and maritime areas, and we would like to play a role in the formation of European and international policy in this field. Many of the challenges we are facing cannot be resolved by individual countries or groups of countries alone. They require broad international solutions,” said Mr Støre.

The Government attaches importance to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and is pleased that this is now on the EU agenda.

“I am pleased to note that the Commission proposes legislation that will facilitate seabed storage of CO2. This is something Norway is pushing hard for and this is an area where we can make an important contribution,” Mr Støre said.

The Government has recently presented a strategy for environmentally friendly growth in the maritime sector with concrete recommendations for promoting sound global framework conditions, environmentally friendly maritime industries, maritime expertise, research and innovation, and short sea shipping.

Read the Norwegian contribution to the Green Paper on a European Maritime Policy.

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