European Green Deal: A Sustainable Blue Economy in the EU

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 20 May 2021

This week the European Commission proposed a new guidance for a sustainable blue economy in the European Union, which is key to both the Recovery Plan and European Green Deal.

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal said: “Healthy oceans are a precondition for a thriving blue economy. Pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, coupled with the effects of the climate crisis, all threaten the rich marine biodiversity that the blue economy depends on. We must change tack and develop a sustainable blue economy where environmental protection and economic activities go hand in hand.”   

The new approach is for all blue economy industries and sectors. Fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, maritime transport, ports and shipbuilding will have to reduce both their climate and environmental impact, to help the transition.  Innovative technologies across the marine ecosystems will create more green jobs and support businesses.

The detailed plan for the blue economy entails:

  • Achieve the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution
  • Switch to a circular economy
  • Preserve biodiversity and invest in nature
  • Support climate adaptation and coastal resilience
  • Ensure sustainable food production
  • Improve management of space at sea

The plan should correlate with recent Commission initiatives in the areas of biodiversity, food and mobility.

Key examples of contributions the blue economy will make to the EU Green Deal are:

  • More offshore renewable energy, decarbonized maritime transport and greener ports
  • Making the economy more circular by renewing fishing standards  
  • Developing green infrastructure in coastal areas will help preserve biodiversity and landscapes, while benefitting tourism and the coastal economy

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs said: “The pandemic has hit the marine economy sectors in different, but profound ways. We have an opportunity to start afresh. To be truly green, we must also think blue.”

The Commission and the European Investment Bank Group will increase their cooperation on a sustainable blue economy, whilst working with Member States to reduce pollution in European seas and support investment in blue innovation.

Read the full press release here.

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Related Event
BlueInvest Day 2021
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