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Joe Borg stresses pivotal role of marine science and research in EU maritime policy at EurOcean 2007

Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg, will be in Aberdeen on 23 June 2007, where he will give the opening address at the EurOcean 2007 Conference. Organised by the European Commission, this major marine science policy event represents a key stage in the year-long consultation on a future European Maritime Policy. The Green Paper on this Policy, published in June 2006, highlights the importance of research and science to ensuring the sustainable management of Europe's seas and oceans. The European Union is a major funder of marine research, in particular through the Research Framework Programmes. Commissioner Borg will address the conference on the vital need for multi-disciplinary science and research to underpin joined-up policy making.

"Oceans are the last under-explored domain on the planet. They offer huge potential in areas as varied as aquaculture, blue biotechnology, renewable energy, non-renewable fuels or mineral resources, to name but a few. Oceans are also essential to the understanding and mitigation of climate change. Science and technology are crucial to enabling us to reconcile the economic potential of all sea-based activities with environmental sustainability ", Commissioner Borg will say in his speech.

The EurOcean 2007 conference will bring together leading figures from the European marine research community to discuss the role of marine science and technology in Europe, and the challenges presented by the move towards a more integrated maritime policy for the EU. The aim is to set the scene for a new European marine research strategy which could enable stronger cross-sectoral integration between marine scientific disciplines and with maritime technology developers, development of critical marine research and data infrastructure, and better coordination of Member States' research efforts. The conference will conclude with the adoption of the Aberdeen Declaration, which will provide a synthesis of the marine science community's message to the Commission in the context of the ongoing consultation on the Green Paper.

EurOcean 2007 follows on from the highly successful EurOcean 2004 Conference in Ireland, whose Galway Declaration had a profound impact on European marine policies and contributed to the inclusion of marine science and technology as a priority cross-cutting theme in the EU's 7th Framework Research Programme (FP7, 2007 • 2013). Under FP6, which ran from 2002 to 2006, 250 marine-related research projects were funded for a total EU contribution of €612 million. The potential for funding marine research under the FP7 programme is clearly considerable. The challenge is to make optimal use of this potential and leverage maximise benefits from marine research funded by Member States.

The Commission launched its Green Paper on a future EU maritime policy in June 2006. The aim is to promote a coherent and joined-up approach to all policies affecting maritime activities, so as to maximise the synergies between them and ensure that the continued economic development of the maritime sector is maximised in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. Consultation on the Green Paper will conclude on 30 June. The Commission intends to come forward with a Maritime Policy package based on the outcome of this consultation next October.

For more information on the conference, please see:

More information on EU maritime research:
Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission REF IP/07/859