EU to chart comprehensive sea and coastland policy

The Commission is launching consultations for an
all-encompassing approach to maritime and coastland policy aimed at
developing sustainable economic activity. Sectors concerned include
fisheries, tourism, energy and transport.

The sheer density and diversity of sea-based activities
(fishing, oil and gas extraction, tourism, shipbuilding, sea
traffic and ports) often creates conflicts because of
fragmentation, the Commission highlights in an explanatory
note.

As all these activities impact on each other, it comes to the
conclusion that an integrated approach is necessary, arguing that
EU member states would be less efficient acting in
isolation. 

Highlighted potential benefits include a more coherent
allocation of space and better environmental protection.

A task force of commissioners has been set up to draft a
consultation paper on the EU’s future maritime policy. Under the
leadership of fisheries chief Joe Borg, the task force comprises
commissioners Verheugen (enterprise and industry), Barrot
(transport), Dimas (environment), Hübner (regional policy),
Potocnik (research) and Piebalgs (energy).

  • EU coastlines stretch for 68,000 km along 20 different EU
    member states
  • About half of the EU population lives within 50km of the
    coastline (the figures have more than doubled over the past 50
    years to reach 70 million people, or 16% of the EU-25)
  • Together, coastal regions account for about half of the EU's
    Gross Domestic Product
  • The consultation paper is scheduled for publication in the
    first half of 2006
  • Specific proposals will follow after the consultation

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