BRUSSELS Ė A European Union maritime action plan has resulted in over 1,200 new projects linked to the sea and secured nearly 6 billion euro ($7.3 million) in investments, according to an EU statement on Monday.
The plan seeks to boost the maritime economy of Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and includes the Macaronesian region, comprising the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, as well as cooperation projects with Cape Verde.
According to the EUís vision, the marine and maritime sectors could by 2020 provide ď7 million jobs in Europe, not only in emerging sectors, such as offshore renewable energy, but by also boosting the traditional maritime industries.Ē
Most of the projects target environmental protection and innovation, as well as improved connectivity and social inclusion.
On the other hand it reinforces the Atlanticís environmental and ecological stability, Europeís largest and most important ecosystem safeguarding it for future generations.
According to the European Commission, among the hundreds of initiatives this plan has created include 500 environmental projects (2.1 billion euro); from developing marine renewable energy in France to biotechnological applications in Portugal.
Spain and Ireland will be assigned some 100 projects (2.4 billion euro) to develop port facilities, improving their accessibility and connectivity.
Another 500 projects (750 million euro) will seek broadband connectivity in remote areas of Scotland or maritime spatial planning in Macaronesia.
A further 100 projects (360 million euro) will promote social inclusion, like improved tourism infrastructure in Wales and remote health monitoring in Ireland.
Funding comes from various sources: the EU, the European Investment Bank, as well as national, regional and private sources.
The EC will use the results of this independent study and a public consultation held last year to generate a discussion in the countries concerned, to improve the planís performance even further from now until 2020.