The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup follows on from the Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup launched in 2010.

Recent EU policies and initiatives related to maritime topics such as the Integrated Maritime Policy, the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning, the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Strategy for Blue Growth reflect the European Institutions’ awareness of the possibilities offered by the seas and oceans. These opportunities are one of the major drivers of economic growth of the European Union’s territories as long as they support sustainable development.

While the European Parliament continues to take action on maritime matters, the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup works to ensure that Europe of the Sea remains a major, cross-cutting and well-identified issue. Such an approach allows issues to be addressed that relate to the marine environment, maritime industries, research, maritime transport, exploitation of living marine resources and European maritime and coastal areas in a specific and transversal way.

The Intergroup also has a strong Island component. It will therefore ensure that the European Union continues to take into account the specific issues faced by the Islands. The Intergroup also includes a geographic dimension to its work through the inclusion of a "sea basin" dimension.

Few words from the MEPs

Mission: Plastic Free Ocean

Marine plastic pollution has attracted increasing scientific, political and public concern. Pictures of remote islands being covered with plastic, shocking figures such as more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 and the immense quantity of the problem (more than 300 million tonnes of plastic being produced every year, of which between 8 to 12 million tonnes are being dumped into the oceans) have brought the marine and maritime dimension of plastic pollution to the top of the agenda. Most pollution is coming from land-based sources, from litter such as plastic bags (globally, more than one million bags are used every minute) plastic bottles (14% of all litter comes from beverage containers) to microplastics coming from fibres in our clothes (a single wash may release up to 700,000 microfibres) microbeads in cosmetics and even car tyres.

The issue of marine litter was a major focus of the EP Report on International Ocean Governance, and it will play an important role in the revision of the Port Facilities Directive. It is closely linked to the recently presented plastic strategy of the European Commission and healthy plastic-free oceans have been one of the examples stated in the recently published Report, “Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union”. (

Therefore, the SEArica Intergroup has decided to push for an ambitious European Agenda to tackle plastic pollution in our seas and oceans and to launch a campaign for Mission: Plastic Free Ocean. In this context the Intergroup, together with the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM) and DG Research and Innovation, has succeeded in bringing the G7 exhibition Ocean Plastics Lab ( to the European Parliament. It will be hosted on the Esplanade from 9-20 April 2018. During these two weeks, the SEArica Intergroup will organise several events closely linked to the topic of marine litter and plastic pollution.

On 9 April 2018, there will be a high-level Round Table with representatives from four DGs, MEPs, and representatives from the research community, the industry and civil society.

On 10 April, SEArica will host a Conference on Mission: Plastic Free Oceans with Commissioner Moedas and James Honeyborn, Executive Producer of Blue Planet II.

On 11 April, a Conference will be organised in cooperation with the BLUEISLANDS project and ACR+ on A circular economy and sustainable tourism on islands.

The exhibition Ocean Plastics Lab will be open to the public and the Intergroup is currently organising guided visits for school classes and visitor groups.



Related News

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.