The European Commission is launching a new phase in its strategy towards a new EU maritime policy. This will cover fields such as mineral resources, fishing, transport and tourism.
These are wide-reaching areas: Shipbuilding, ports, fisheries and related services industries employ two and a half million people. Twenty Member States have coasts stretching to almost 70,000 km. Almost half of the EU population live less than 50 km from the shore. The maritime regions accounted for more than 40% of income in terms of GDP, already before enlargement in 2004.
The broadening of consultations this Wednesday in Brussels aims to ensure the greatest possible degree of involvement by the many economic interests and public social interests in identifying ways to pursue integrated policies for the future. The challenge is to make the most of the potential for economic growth in a sustainable manner. The aim is to understand the implications of each activity closely related to the sea.