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EU vows to develop sustainable maritime economy for carbon neutrality

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-18 10:34
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EU Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius gives a news conference on sustainable blue economy in Brussels, Belgium, May 17, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Monday pledged to develop a sustainable blue economy in a bid to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

"We add the blue dimension to the European Green Deal," said European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, who is in charge of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries at the Commission. The Green Deal is the EU's lead program to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

By blue economy, the Commission refers to all sectors working with or in close proximity to seas and oceans, including fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, maritime transport, port activities and shipbuilding.

It provides employment to 4.5 million people in the EU, with a turnover of more than 650 billion euros (789.75 billion U.S. dollars).

"Pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, coupled with the effects of the climate crisis, all threaten the rich marine biodiversity that the blue economy depends on," said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-president of the European Commission for the Green Deal.

The goals are to reach climate neutrality, to switch to a circular economy, to preserve biodiversity, to ensure sustainable food production and to improve the management of maritime space, according to a press release from the EU Commission.

The transition to sustainability for the blue economy will be funded by relevant EU funds and private capital will also be mobilized, according to Sinkevicius.

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