Following its launch at the beginning of 2010, the Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup is now celebrating the end its first mandate of existence. Since the European Commission launched its consultation on the creation of an Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) in 2007, the interest in launching a policy discussion in favor of the sea has grown significantly. The work achieved by the Intergroup has confirmed the need for a forum for open exchange in the European Parliament, for those MEPs interested in maritime affairs, to debate and to be kept informed, but above all a forum that would facilitate MEPS’ direct influence on legislation.
Through an intense programme of seminars, public hearings, the investment of approximately 40 Parliamentarians coming from 13 countries and with the valuable support of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), the Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup has made an undisputed contribution to the emergence and the updating of issues considered as priorities by our members. In particular, the issues of maritime security, conditions of the exploitation of offshore oil, protection of marine biodiversity, marine and maritime research, maritime industries, European coastguards and marine renewable energies.

Our aim has been to form as many links as possible between issues that up to now have been dealt with in a compartmentalized way. We have endeavored to treat these issues whilst bearing in mind key aspects: in particular employment, environment and health. We have also been careful to open up our discussions on each occasion to the range of stakeholders without being partisan, thereby paving the way for a constructive dialogue between actors from the institutions and those representing the economic sector and civil society.
The Intergroup’s initial objective of gaining recognition as a credible actor in Brussels in the maritime field and facilitating the emergence of key subjects on the Community’s agenda has been fulfilled. At our level, we want to push to see that law-makers are no longer fighting yesterday’s battles, but rather should be forward looking through the anticipation of problems, rather than suffering them a posteriori and taking emergency action.

Few words from the MEPs

2018 marked some positive changes: the directive on single-use plastics is a milestone to combat marine litter and the Blue Economy continues to grow with an above average growth. The SEARICA Intergroup organised successful events throughout the year covering a wide variety of topics from green shipping, underwater noise, to the protection of biodiversity. The highlight was certainly an exhibition on plastic litter in the oceans in front of the European Parliament attracting several thousand visitors.

With the European elections coming up, 2019 will be an exciting year as well! Important decisions for the marine environment will be made. Horizon Europe, the research and innovation framework programme will succeed Horizon 2020 and we hope that sufficient financial resources will be allocated to fund marine research topics. Hence, Searica strongly supports the idea of a Mission: Healthy Ocean as part of Horizon Europe.

With the negotiations on Invest EU and the EMFF being in its final stages, we also hope that the Blue Economy will be considered in the Multiannual Financial Framework so that investment in new maritime markets, technologies and services such as ocean energy or marine biotechnology can be boosted.

Furthermore, as Special Envoy of the President of the European Parliament on Maritime Policy, Searica President Gesine Meißner could secure the funding for a high-level Ocean Conference at the European Parliament. The event is still in preparation and will take place in March or April.

For Searica the year will begin with a conference on Research and Development for the European Waterborne sector on the 24th of January. Another Conference on Banking on the Blue Economy will follow on the 30th of January.




What is an Intergroup?

The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup is one of the 28 Intergroups that were approved on 11 December 2014 by the Conference of Presidents. Intergroups can be formed by MEPs from any political group and any parliamentary committee with a view to holding informal exchanges of views on particular issues and to promoting contact between MEPs and civil society.

The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup brings together more than 80 MEPs from six different political groups and from 19 Member States.

Intergroups are not Parliament bodies and therefore may not express Parliament's opinion.

Intergroups are subject to internal rules adopted by the Conference of Presidents on 16 December 1999 (last updated on 11 September 2014), which set out the conditions under which intergroups may be established at the beginning of each parliamentary term and their operating rules.