Articles taggés avec ‘Member States’

20 May: European Maritime Day set up by European institutions

Jeudi 15 mai 2008

The European Union has decided to celebrate the achievements and potential of Europe’s ocean and seas by declaring 20 May as a dedicated “European Maritime Day”

The official launch ceremony will be held in Strasbourg, where Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Janez Janša and the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering will sign a Joint Tripartite Declaration. European Maritime Day will provide an occasion to highlight the crucial role that oceans and seas play in the everyday life not only of coastal communities, but of all EU citizens, and for Europe’s sustainable growth and jobs at large. Based on a proposal from the Commission, this dedicated Maritime Day will also encourage better stewardship of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and actors concerned.

The Commission hopes that citizens and stakeholders living and working in Europe’s maritime regions will seize this occasion to showcase their contribution to the EU as a whole, and to stimulate broad debate around the challenges they face

The first ever European Maritime Day on 20th May 2008 will see the European Parliament vote on a report on the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy. The report highlights, inter alia, the exceptional maritime dimension conferred on the EU by its extensive coastline, islands and outermost regions. It also underlines the unique opportunities offered by the maritime sector as regards innovation, research, environment and biodiversity, calling for these to be fully taken into account in the emerging Integrated Maritime Policy. Furthermore, the report stresses how the involvement of regional and local partners is essential to making a success of the maritime policy and advocates closer cooperation between Europe’s coastal regions.

In parallel, the European Commission will hold a Stakeholder Conference in Brussels on 19 and 20 May, open to the press. The programme includes keynote interventions by European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Joe Borg, Member of the European Parliament and Integrated Maritime Policy Rapporteur Willi Piecyk, and 1st Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and Mayor and MP of Dunkirk Michel Delebarre. There will be a Ministerial Panel headed by the Slovenian Presidency in which members of the Governments of France, Germany, Portugal and Norway will participate. Discussions will focus on how to promote continued stakeholder dialogue in support of the development of an Integrated Maritime Policy and ensure that the new policy is fully adapted to the regional dimension of maritime affairs.

Since the proposal of an Integrated Maritime Policy by the European Commission on October 2007 and its subsequent endorsement by Heads of State and Government at the European Council of 14 December 2007, real progress has been made towards building a coherent framework to promote synergies and resolves potential conflicts between different sea-related policy areas. In line with the detailed Action Plan published in October, the Commission itself has already come forward with proposals to combat illegal fishing, boost development of EU ports and port cities, re-assess the social framework regulating seafaring jobs, and promote a better fit between energy policy and maritime policy. It has also carried out a stock-taking exercise looking at maritime surveillance systems, and the offshore activities and competences of the Member States.

Press room - European Commission
  More information:
European Maritime Day website

The outermost regions at the centre of discussions in Brussels (14-15 May)

Mercredi 14 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support projects for growth and jobs creation in the least favoured regions of the Member States
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to sustainable regional development in the least favoured regions of the Member States

The seven outermost regions of Europe (the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion) are at the centre of discussions at the conference on the future of the European strategy for these regions,

The aim of the meeting, involving the seven regional presidents and representatives of the French, Portuguese, Spanish [and Netherlands] governments and representatives of other European institutions, academic institutions and socio-professional circles, is to update and enrich the European strategy for the outermost regions in the light of the four major challenges facing these regions: climate change, demographic trends and migratory flows, the future of agriculture and the role of the outermost regions in the EU’s maritime dimension. These discussions accompany the communication adopted by the Commission in September 2007 and the public consultation launched simultaneously on the internet.

Four major challenges
Apart from the plenary sessions, providing for high-level political exchanges on the development of the strategy for the outermost regions, the conference will be based around four workshops discussing the major challenges for the future of these regions:

* climate change: these regions have exceptional natural advantages (great potential in terms of renewable energy, biodiversity, etc.) which must be exploited to the full in combating climate change;
* demographic trends and migratory flows: the conference will discuss in particular the impact on the economic and social development of the outermost regions of high birth rates and population ageing, and the phenomena of immigration and of population movements to the mainland;
* agriculture: agricultural production and food supply remain essential for the economic viability of these regions, which may be further consolidated by Community rural development policy;
* the role of the outermost regions in European Union maritime policy: the particular aim here is to examine the various aspects of governance in the maritime sector, and to discuss the contribution of maritime activities to the development of these regions. Particular attention will be paid to the areas of marine research most relevant to these regions.

Stages in the debate on the future of the outermost regions

* The Commission adopted a communication in September 2007 entitled “Strategy for the outermost regions: Achievements and Future Prospects” listing actions carried out since 2004 to promote these regions under various Community policies and proposing points to consider in the future.
* The communication provided an opportunity to open a debate with the European institutions, the Member States and all interested parties (local players, representatives of associations, trade unions, academics and researchers, etc.). A consultation was launched via the internet and ended on 31 March.
* The aim of today’s conference is to draw on the written contributions received under the public consultation and to discuss with all stakeholders possible amendments and adaptations to the European strategy for the outermost regions in the coming years. This is an interinstitutional meeting: the Presidency of the Union, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee will also be present. Nearly 200 representatives from local, regional and national authorities, particularly from France, Spain, Portugal, [the Netherlands and Cape Verde] will also take part in the debates, together with leading figures from universities, research centres and businesses.
* This event is particularly important in the context of the conclusions of the European Council of 14 December, in which the Member States called upon the Commission to present new proposals before October 2008 concerning the strategy for the outermost regions.

Note for Editors
The European Union has seven outermost regions: the four French overseas departments (DOM): Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion and Martinique, the autonomous Portuguese regions of the Azores and Madeira and the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands in Spain.

Under the cohesion policy 2000-2006, 7.7 billion euro have been granted to the outermost regions (including aid from the ERDF, the ESF, the EAGGF for agriculture and rural development and the FIFG for fisheries). This was the highest per capita level of funding in the entire European Union.

For the period 2007-2013, aid from European funds amounts to 7.9 billion euro (including funds allocated under the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund (EARDF) and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF)).

In addition, a number of measures have been adopted under other Community policies in order to take account of the specific characteristics of these regions. Specific provisions to promote the outermost regions have, for example, been integrated into the reform of the organisation of the sugar and banana markets while the outermost regions have also benefited from preferential treatment within the guidelines on national regional aid.

A specific initiative was introduced under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development in order to mobilise the potential of the outermost regions in the field of research and to improve their integration into the European research area.

Press Room - European Commission
  More information:
DG regio