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

1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

One year ago, the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas (SEArica) Intergroup was officially established. Within a very short time, the Intergroup has become an important platform to discuss maritime policies in the European Parliament. Its idea to bring together representatives of the local and regional authorities, research community, industry, NGOs and the European Institutions in order to work on a better maritime governance has filled a crucial gap and was broadly welcomed by all relevant stakeholders.

In close cooperation with all its eleven Vice-Presidents, in particular with Mr Alain Cadec, Mr Geben-Jan Gebrandy, Mr Tonino Picula, Ms Sofia Ribeiro, Mr Serrao Santos, Mrs Ulrike Rodust and Ms Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar, we organised events on How to develop a stronger Europe of the sea with Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Growth opportunities for maritime industries, Marine Data: What Role for Europe, The ARCOPOL-platform, The Maritime Perspective of Climate Change, What Can Europe Do For Better International Ocean Governance and Blue Growth in the Baltic.

Furthermore, the Intergroup was actively involved in drafting the European Parliament report on “Untapping the Potential of Research and Innovation in the Blue Economy to Create Jobs and Growth”, voted in June 2015, and, on the initiative of Vice-President Ms Isabelle Thomas, launched a Call for Oceans and Climate which was handed over to the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal, at the COP21 in Paris.

Mrs Meissner would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, Members of the Board and the Intergroup for your excellent cooperation and the CPMR for organising the Intergroup’s Secretariat and hope to welcome you soon to one of our upcoming events.

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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.