EU Green Paper on Maritime Policy

“Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and the seas.”

On 7 June 2006, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on a future Maritime Policy for the European Union. The Green Paper laid the groundwork for a Maritime Policy which would 'put the oceans and seas management on a sound basis, allowing for the development of well-balanced and coherent sea-based policies and activities'.

At the same time the Commission launched a wide public debate about such a future Maritime Policy and how it could bring added value to coastal regions, the marine environment and individual maritime activities.

The Green Paper was the first step in this public debate and stakeholders across Europe were invited to respond with their views. Sail Training International was invited to respond on behalf of the sail training activity in Europe. We were also given specific questions in addition to those contained in the Green Paper.

The summary of our response is shown below but you may also download the full version.
All the contributions from stakeholders (including ours) can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs

SUMMARY

Sail Training International and its members support the proposal for an integrated Maritime Policy for Europe. We consider that the Green Paper consultation process has been a worthwhile exercise and welcome further involvement in the development of the Maritime Policy.

Sail training and events for sail training vessels have much to offer in addressing some of the issues contained within the Green Paper. In particular, sail training voyages and events can assist the future of maritime Europe in the areas of developing Europe's maritime skills and widening the pool from which new recruits can be drawn, promoting awareness of maritime heritage and modern maritime activities and identity, assisting with education and knowledge about the environment and promoting coastal tourism.

Although sail training is a growing activity and already performs a valuable role in society, it would better serve the needs of the EU if it had greater recognition within a future Maritime Policy. Our key suggestions therefore are to:

•  Consider ways in which the number of young people taking part in sail training can be increased significantly.

•  Recognise that sail training is a legitimate activity eligible for funding in its own right and also align some existing EU funding programmes with the aims expressed in the Green Paper.

•  Encourage closer co-operation between sail training providers and modern maritime activities to enhance seafarer training programmes.

•  Make more use of The Tall Ships' Races and other maritime events to promote maritime awareness to the general public.

•  Explore ways in which environmental awareness, research and protection can be further integrated into sail training voyages and events.

•  Assist the future of sail training by establishing best practice networks to address issues relating to regulations for sail training vessels.