European Maritime Day is being launched in a bid to safeguard ocean ecosystems and coastal regions at the same time as ensuring maritime and coastal economies. The EU Member States, Regional Governments and civil society organisations are all encouraged to have a hand in related activities.
In Strasbourg, the heads of the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament signing a Joint Tripartite Declaration establishing a “European Maritime Day” to be held every year.
The celebrations coincided with protests by French fishermen, over fuel prices. But at the same time, Brussels approved a package of 230 million euros from both national and EU funds to help modernise and restructure the French fishing fleet over the next three years.
Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said: “There are good prospects that we can have a strong fishery, we can have a strong sustainable fishery, and certainly it will be beneficient to the livelihoods of all fishermen and in particular the French.”
Environmental and social concerns outside the EU are also under debate. The European Parliament deplored the conditions under which as many as 600 big ships are dismantled each year on foreign beaches, many in southern Asia.