A strong economy in Europe needs a strong and sustainable maritime sector – and by forging connections between science, education and business, maritime clusters can help make this happen.
This was the key message that Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, shared at a meeting of the European Network of Maritime Clusters (ENMC) on Thursday, 2nd July.
The ENMC represents most of Europe’s maritime industries via 17 national clusters. “Thanks to the clusters that are now all over Europe, businesses are able to network on innovation, create economies of scale, and cooperate with each other nationally and internationally. The sum of your experience can help us move forward and feed into our decision making, helping us shape better policies. This is why I would be interested to hear your views today,” Mr Vella said.
Maritime industries are at the heart of the EU’s ambitions for blue growth, research, innovation and competitiveness. They account for about 5 million jobs and between 3.5 and 4.5 percent of the EU’s GDP.But they are also facing a number of challenges. How can we solve the paradox of a high level of youth unemployment but a shortage of qualified technicians? How can we better connect research with businesses all over Europe, ensuring that good ideas find their way from the drawing board to the market? What are the priorities for investment?
The Commissioner was therefore particularly interested in hearing how the sector could be strengthened, be it by improving skills, fostering innovation or making the most of existing funding opportunities.
The meeting was also an occasion for maritime stakeholders to share their views in the context of the Commission’s Ocean Governance consultation. The consultation, which is open until 15th September, asks what the EU can do to improve international governance of our oceans and seas.
Source: European Commission