Soon after I was elected as Member of the European Parliament in 2009 I became Rapporteur of the report on Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). Coming from a coastal region in Germany this holistic approach convinced me right away. Marine and maritime activities are complex and overlapping. The Wadden Sea in my constituency is a great example of how to preserve a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its rich biodiversity and still allow limited economical activities in the area.

This experience is one of the reasons why I am always stressing that growth of the blue economy has to happen in a sustainable way. I am firmly convinced that IMP can play an important role in achieving this goal. Besides, an ambitious European Maritime Policy is, in my point of view, a great chance to implement the idea of the European Union. Water doesn’t know borders and therefore it is crucial that we work together in a cross-border approach.

Since 2010 many developments have taken place. The European Commission established the idea of Blue Growth, with the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) IMP got a proper funding and as Rapporteur I was involved in the adoption of the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). I am very positive that the implementation of this Directive will foster investments in the maritime sector and facilitate in the mid- and long-term all kind of offshore activities.

However, because Maritime Policy doesn’t yet attract the attention it should, I initiated this intergroup on seas, rivers, islands and coastal areas. It reflects the integrated approach of IMP by addressing all relevant marine and maritime topics from different geographical and sectorial angles. Furthermore it will bring together MEPs from coastal constituencies and islands and relevant stakeholders to push for an ambitious European maritime agenda. As President of the Intergroup I am looking forward to the events and activities we will organise to achieve sustainable growth of the blue economy.



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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.