First Reactions to the Atlantic Strategy Action Plan

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CAAC Banner by TGE

A briefing by Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator

The European Commission has today adopted an Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area. The Action Plan follows from the Atlantic Strategy the Commission adopted in 2011 (see IP/11/1456). It aims to show how the EU’s Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the “blue economy”, which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020. At the same time, the environmental and ecological stability of the Atlantic Ocean must be preserved.

The Action Plan considers responses to the challenges of delivering growth, reducing the carbon footprint, sustainable use of the sea’s natural resources, responding effectively to threats and emergencies and implementing an “ecosystem” management approach in Atlantic waters. It contains four overarching priorities:

  1. • Promote entrepreneurship and innovation;
  2. • Protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment;
  3. • Improve accessibility and connectivity;
  4. • Create a socially inclusive and sustainable model of regional developme

CCAA first analysis reveals that:

  1. • In general, as had happened in the Communication of 2011, the text ignores local authorities.
  2. • Again, the ports are limited to a role of “infrastructure” and not actors. Territorial cooperation is defined as cross-border … though in this case is transnational.
  3. • All three areas offer a reductionist perspective that does not cover the wealth of the Atlantic Arc. Skills and research overlap while the later is limited to prevention, without providing answers.
  4. – Transportation should not be limited to the port and maritime service, the Action Plan should try to connect the hinterland and the whole of Europe. The multimode optical should be comprehensive and not limited to one type of transportation. Hence, the importance of the ESPON concept of contactability. The Atlantic Strategy should not be limited to improving the connection of the Atlantic territory with the European Centre (accessibility), but should also aim to improve the connection between the regions and cities of the Atlantic (contactability) and improve the Atlantic urban centers (mobility), to ensure efficiency and capillary transport network.
  5. The great question is not the topics of the Atlantic Strategy, but its implementation and governance. The topics chosen correspond to the ambitions of the Atlantic territories, although there is still the risk of a lack of urban dimension or an “only coastal” development. The results of this strategy and the reduction of those risks go necessarily through the establishment of a participatory system where the Atlantic cities are key players.

The Action Plan will now be passed on to the European Parliament and the Council for endorsement. Partnership Agreements with Member States on Structural Investment Funds are to be in place before the end of 2013. These should outline how Member States will use EU funds to implement the Atlantic Action Plan. As the Atlantic Ocean is a shared resource, the Commission has also begun steps towards a gradual internationalisation of the Atlantic Strategy. To this end, a joint declaration on an Atlantic research partnership is to be signed with the USA and Canada on 24 May in Galway, Ireland.

For more information on CAAC’s stance, please visit our discussion papers HERE

Source : EU Commission

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