Blue Economy anchor for EU Green Deal
The Blue Economy includes all activities that are marine-based or marine-related. With a turnover of 750 billion euros and 5 million jobs 2018 the Blue Economy has an important role to play in the EU Green Deal and the recovery of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Some sectors such as coastal and marine tourism are severely affected by the pandemic, but according to the European Commission the blue economy as a whole can contribute to a green recovery.
“Maritime renewable energy, food from the sea, sustainable coastal and maritime tourism, the blue bio-economy will help us come out of this crisis stronger, healthier, more resilient and more sustainable”, said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries in June when the EU Blue Economy Report 2020 was published. “We are doing everything we can to cushion the impact of the lockdown, protect the jobs in the blue economy and the wellbeing of our coastal communities, while retaining our environmental ambitions.”
The Blue Economy includes all activities that are marine-based or marine-related. The report concentrates not only on established sectors but also emerging and innovative sectors, such as floating solar energy, marine minerals, desalination and submarine cables. These activities bring new investment opportunities and hold huge potential for the future development of coastal communities.
With 5 million people employed in 2018 the number of jobs in the Blue Economy increased 11.6% compared with 2017. The recent growth was mainly driven by the coastal tourism sector. Jobs in the offshore wind energy sector have multiplied nine-fold in less than 10 years. These figures illustrate that the EU Blue Economy has overcome the devastating impact of the economic and financial crisis of 2008.
The EU supports the Blue Economy through various instruments. The European Fund for Strategic Investments has invested over 1.4 billion euros in offshore wind projects and offered substantial support to other parts of the blue economy, including port development and clean shipping. The BlueInvest Platform of the European Commission and the European Investment Fund provided grants of 20 million euros in 2020, to innovative, starting blue economy entrepreneurs. In addition a new BlueInvest Fund was created in 2020. Also the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is financing a series of blue economy projects.