Last week, the European Commission adopted an updated action plan for a sustainable, resilient and competitive blue economy in the EU Atlantic area, covering France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
At a time of social and economic uncertainty, the EU is preparing the next generation of EU-funded programmes to foster economic recovery. The revamped action plan will give new impetus to the Atlantic maritime strategy and will strengthen the participating countries’ recovery efforts. It will contribute to the European Green Deal, a socially inclusive model of sustainable development and job creation, while safeguarding marine and coastal environments and securing a healthy ocean.
The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said:
In the midst of the crisis, more than ever, we must stay focused on making our future green: the EU Green Deal and the green transition should guide our recovery plan. The development of a sustainable blue economy, targeting specific challenges and opportunities at sea basin level, serves exactly these objectives. We must put green in the blue and blue in the green.
The new action plan proposes concrete actions for the development of the blue economy in the Atlantic, addressing key societal challenges such as:
These are the fundamental issues at the core of the Blue-Cloud long-term mission, as highlighted by the five pilots that will demonstrate our project's potential for helping translate results from marine research into actual innovation and impact for the blue economy. Especially when talking about the ocean, science and societal issues are closely connected, and Blue-Cloud will offer the ideal framework for these domains to come together and contribute to real change. We provided a detailed overview of the five Blue-Cloud demonstrators at our webinar in June, featuring experts from leading research institutions in the fields of biodiversity, genomics, environment, fisheries, and aquaculture.
The action plan also has a strong international dimension in the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance including the United States of America, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. International cooperation across the Atlantic, and around the globe, is another key aspect for Blue-Cloud, as also seen at the workshop co-located with the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum in February 2020.
The main sources of funding will be European Structural and Investment Funds, including the future territorial cooperation programme in the Atlantic area and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). In addition to the national and regional funding, the action plan will also rely on sources such as Horizon Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, LIFE programme and innovative financial instruments managed by the European Investment Bank, such as the InvestEU programme for decarbonisation and the circular economy.