After more than a year of consultations, Brussels says EU countries must coordinate their maritime policies to help fight threats. A 49-page Green Paper unveiled by the European Commission does not so much propose changes in policy as talk about stimulating a wide-ranging debate. At the unveiling, EU executive head Jose Manuel Barroso offered some food for thought:
“Is not it strange that the United States or Canada or Australia and now Japan, they already have a strategy for the oceans and that we Europeans as such have not been able so far to establish a strategy for the oceans?”
The paper suggests a high-precision monitoring system be perfected. It says the risks include pollution and criminal activities, from the trafficking of human beings and smuggling to terrorism; The integration of policies and use of common methods would increase efficiency in all matters relating to the sea. It wants conflicts between the many sectors to be avoided.
The EU is the world’s leading maritime bloc, especially in shipbuilding, coastal tourism, fisheries and offshore energy. Brussels also urged the member states to take the lead in technology innovation.