The European Commission said Monday that halfway through the implementation of the EU’s action plan for a maritime strategy in the Atlantic, an independent study finds it has spurred over 1,200 new maritime projects and nearly €6 billion of investments.
According to the Commission, most projects target environmental protection and innovation, as well as improved connectivity and social inclusion. Examples include the development of marine renewable energy in France or port facilities in Spain and Ireland, improved tourism infrastructure in Wales, as well as setting up broadband connectivity in remote areas of Scotland or remote health monitoring in Ireland.
The Commission also said a number of projects financed by the EU’s action plan help facilitate the clean energy transition, as put forward by the Juncker Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ initiative and contributes to the creation of the Energy Union.
“Identifying investment priorities with the involvement of regions and business can help generate sustainable growth in our coastal areas and drive forward the blue economy,” Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said.
“With the action plan, the community of stakeholders in the Atlantic Ocean area has grown stronger and better at raising funds for marine and maritime projects,” he added.
The Atlantic maritime action plan was launched in 2013 to boost the maritime economy of its five Atlantic States – Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, and Ireland – and their outermost regions and funding comes from the EU such as from the European Regional Development Fund, Horizon2020, the European Investment Bank as well as national, regional, and private sources.
By mid-2017, hundreds of initiatives had cropped up and started contributing to the goals and funding.
The European Commission said the EC will use the results of the independent study – and of the public consultation that was held last year – to work with the Member States to further improve the plan’s performance between now and 2020.