Commissioner Borg in Slovenia to promote closer cooperation on maritime issues in the Mediterranean

Joe Borg, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will attend tomorrow an international conference in Portorož, Slovenia, to open a debate on the maritime-related challenges and opportunities for the Mediterranean Sea basin. The discussions will focus on cooperation and governance in a variety of maritime sectors and activities such as environment, sea transport, surveillance and research.

Closer cooperation in these areas between EU and non-EU countries in the region, as well as increased collaboration between sectoral players, will be the leitmotivs. "Maritime governance needs to be improved in order to ensure efficient collaboration in the Mediterranean region, which presents a number of challenging specificities and great opportunities. The complex challenges faced by the region must be addressed together by all the Mediterranean states, EU and non-EU alike," said Commissioner Borg.

At EU level, much is being done already, such as:

  1. The Motorways of the Sea initiative.
  2. The maritime safety packages.
  3. Joint operations to fight illegal immigration.

New tools are also being developed in the framework of the Integrated Maritime Policy, for example a pilot project will shortly be launched in the Western Mediterranean to test and enhance the interoperability of the maritime surveillance systems in use.

The "Integrated Maritime Policy and the Mediterranean" , organised by the Slovenian Presidency of the EU, the European Commission and the University Centre for Euro-Mediterranean Studies in Piran, will be an important step towards applying the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy in the regional context.

The Commission is also seeking the advice of the stakeholders from the region. A consultation on the shape and scope of the Integrated Maritime Policy in the Mediterranean is open until 27th July 2008 and the preliminary results will be presented at the conference in Portorož.