The rise of the European Network of Maritime Clusters accelerates . The managing team of the European Network of Maritime Clusters (ENMC) is just back from a marathon of meetings in Brussels with European Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Maritime Affairs and Environment), Mr. Joao Aguiar Machado (Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) as well as several other EC high officials.
The range of topics addressed was very broad: the follow-up of the consultation on International Ocean Governance, the necessary better inclusion of the oceanic dimension in climate talks (e.g. the need for a dedicated IPCC report), the cooperation of ENMC and European Commission for the European Maritime Day, the “Business Meets Science Forum”, the Euromaritime Trade Fair, to name just a few.
The ENMC also raised the crucial question of the complementary funding it needs to increase its role as a transversal European Maritime Cluster (in reality a sufficiently geared up Cluster of Clusters). The issue was not new to the European Commissioner since the ENMC has repeatedly addressed it over the past years. Yet the context is favorable as stated by ENMC Chairman Francis Vallat : "There is a common understanding of the instrumental role the maritime clusters play at national level and that the concept -replicated at European level - will be a powerful tool to help to achieve Blue Growth". Making money available for Pan-European clusters is quite innovative and not possible under current rules, which is one of the reasons why the ENMC is pushing for a revision of the said rules. The recent speech of Mr. Karmenu Vella in front of the French Parliament is in this sense encouraging when he declared, referring specifically the ENMC: "We are currently looking at ways to cooperate."
Another good news is the launch of the study to establish a database on European maritime economy. As the main and most instrumental forerunner of this initiative, the ENMC was not only granted a specific seat in the peer review process, but also participated, at DGMare headquarters, in an open preliminary exchange with the appointed consultancy . Several maritime clusters will work hand in hand with the European Commission, the consultancy Cogea, winner of the tender, European business Federations, and Universities, to ensure that this database meet the expectations of both the private and public sectors. Last but not least the whole of ENMC members will twice receive Cogea for discussing progress reports along the process. The first step will be to work out a definition of the various segments of the Blue Economy and then first harmonized data will be collected like turn-over figures, added value, direct & indirect employment, exports numbers, (within EU, out of EU?) as well as other sector specific indicators. The main point is that data should be reliable, and regularly updatable.
All chairmen of the national maritime clusters gathered by the ENMC will meet European Commissioner Karmenu Vella on May 3rd 2016 in Luxembourg for the second time since last year. The agenda includes Ocean Governance and the identification of political and financial priorities. Then European Commissioner will deliver a speech on Blue Growth in landlocked regions in countries at an event hosted by the Luxembourg Maritime Cluster and Deloitte.
Source: European Network of Maritime Clusters
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