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

 

The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup would like to thank you for your support in the past four years. Your involvement and participation in SEARICA’s activities has greatly contributed to make SEARICA so successful! We would like to warmly THANK YOU for that.

 

Looking back, SEARICA has achieved some successes. Since its establishment in 2015, the Intergroup has organized more than 50 events, welcomed more than 13000 participants to its conferences and worked together with 8 DGs and three Commissioners. Together, a Clean energy for EU islands initiative and secretariat were established and funding for a pilot project on ocean literacy was granted. SEARICA was also on the forefront to fight for a Mission: Healthy Ocean in the next research and innovation framework programme Horizon Europe and pushed for the maritime activities among the eligible areas of InvestEU.

 

We do not want to stop here. Marine litter is a great concern to citizens. Climate change is leaving its impacts on the marine environment, be it the loss of habitats or the rise of sea levels. The production of energy from offshore wind or tidal waves has a huge potential to achieve the SDGs. Digitalization and innovation will change the blue economy and its careers dramatically. Maritime cooperation needs to be strengthened to ensure economic and social connectivity around sea basins.

 

To continue to work on these challenges, the secretariat of the SEARICA Intergroup will launch its campaign to re-establish SEARICA with the new European Parliament. We look forward to introducing to you the new SEARICA Intergroup after its establishment in the end of the year and hope to welcome you back to our events in the beginning of 2020.

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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.