The EU has proposed to streamline and simplify funding for the European fisheries and maritime sector in the next multiannual financial framework.
Under the next EU budget, for the period 2021-2027, the European fisheries and maritime sector will be allocated €6.14bn, and the commission has proposed a new system to offer more flexibility and simplify the process by which projects are funded, in order to make this budget more efficient and effective.
The European Commission estimates the value of the global maritime economy at €1.3tr, and suggests that this could more than double by 2030. To allow Europe to take advantage of this growth and become a world leader in this sector, the fund includes a number of international-level commitments.
What are the commission’s priorities for maritime projects?
Sustainability is the primary aim for the commission’s maritime funding between 2021-2027. The commission hopes to deliver on the potential of a ‘blue economy’ which relies on sustainable, clean maritime activities.
Ultimately, this will serve the EU’s climate ambitions by decarbonising the shipping sector, and the commission estimates that at least 30% of funding for the European fisheries and maritime sector during the period of the next EU budget will be spent on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The fund will also support innovation in ocean energy, and efforts to prevent pollution, particularly plastic pollution, in the oceans. This will also include projects which could have a wider environmental impact, such as exploring the potential for sustainable, renewable fuels and autonomous vessels in shipping.
How will targeted maritime funding impact the EU?
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, welcomed the proposal as an opportunity to fulfil the EU’s global responsibilities to the environment and the growing potential for investment in the European fisheries and maritime sector.
He said: “As a global ocean actor and the world’s fifth largest producer of seafood, the European Union has a strong responsibility to protect, conserve and sustainably use the oceans and their resources. The fund will allow member states and the commission to live up to that responsibility and invest into sustainable fisheries, food security, a thriving maritime economy, and healthy and productive seas and oceans.”