The Hague

The North Sea Commsission took part in the workshop Strategic Co-operation on Blue Growth in the North Sea, organised by DG Mare in The Hague on 20-21 June, hosted by Zuid-Holland. Participants came from European institutions, national and regional authorities and stakeholders.

The workshop was funded under the ‘Preparatory Action for the North Sea’, an initiative launched by the European Parliament in 2013. CPMR Vice-President Rogier van der Sande opened the conference and gave several example of blue growth projects involving his region.

Participants in the workshop highlighted the need to encourage public private partnerships with an emphasis on cooperation across clusters and sectors, as a way to better exploit the innovation potential of the blue economy and to renew its skills base.

During opening plenary presentations, the role of the CPMR and the NSC was highlighted several times. Donne Slangen, from the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment, mentioned the CPMR Blue.Invest workshop held last year and the importance of such “support engines” who work across institutional borders. CPMR had also been an important cooperation partner in the work on cluster development and involvement at European Maritime Day.

Claus Schultze, from DG Mare, described oceans as the new economic frontiers. He stressed the need to use Smart Specialisation Strategies and bottom-up initiatives. Cross-sector activities and a focus on value chains, as developed under the Vanguard Initiative, were given as examples as ways to achieve innovation in blue growth.

Marcella Smyth, Chair of the Atlantic Strategy Group, gave examples of the Atlantic experiences on activating blue growth. Implementation of the strategy is ensured by Atlantic strategy support group, which offers guidance and oversees the implementation of the action plan. The group is able to promote and give visibility to the actions under the strategy while showcasing actions and success stories.

NSC President Kerstin Brunnström gave the concluding remarks of the workshop. She informed about the North Sea Commission’s recently revised strategy document NSR2020. She stressed the need for a clear political will, for compilation of knowledge and data about the sea and the marine environment, for mapping of support structures, for support for stakeholders to find partners, for success stories, and for less bureaucracy and an easier way to combine funding for transnational cooperation.

To find out more read the NSC Report from the DG Mare workshop under Preparatory Action