The European Blue Forum’s 2nd Deep-Dive Workshop titled "What does a fossil-fuel-free blue economy look like? How can we as a community support this transition?" took place on October 16th, 2023. It served as a platform for stakeholders from different sectors, sea basins, and organisational backgrounds to engage in an in-depth discussion regarding the future of the European Blue Economy. The primary goal of the workshop was to explore and discuss the challenges and obstacles the members of the European Blue Forum are facing and their unique aspirations and requirements in decarbonising their sector and eventually transitioning towards a fossil fuel sustainable blue economy in the future.
The discussions involved fifty (50) stakeholders representing various organisations, including private companies, academia, public authorities, programmes, civil society, and regions spanning the European seas. Participants were provided with a briefing paper summarising the key outcomes of the Official Launch Event in Brest, France on May 26th, to inspire and equip them for active engagement in the workshop's discussions. The workshop was organised into four breakout rooms, each guided by two experienced facilitators. This approach ensured a broad spectrum of viewpoints and fostered an inclusive environment where participants felt comfortable sharing their perspectives.
The Breakout Sessions:
Breakout Room 1 – Given current technology readiness and existing research and innovation efforts, will we achieve 2050 energy transition targets?
Breakout Room 2 – Beyond the required technology, what more should we be doing to support the transition to a fossil-fuel-free blue economy by 2040?
Breakout Room 3 – Who should pay for the transition to a fossil-fuel-free Blue Economy? How do we ensure a fair energy transition for all activities/stakeholders?
Breakout Room 4 – What is expected of public authorities (national, regional, local and European) in supporting the energy transition of maritime sectors and communities?
The primary outcome of the workshop is to support the development of a Stakeholder Position Paper that aims to summarise the varying viewpoints, challenges, and requirements of European Blue Forum stakeholders, representing the wide spectrum of sea users. This endeavour seeks to enhance coordination by involving all Directorates-General within the Commission, aligning the forum's diverse outputs and recommendations with broader EU policies. The European Blue Forum promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and values stakeholder engagement in the decision-making process, recognizing its direct impact on policy implementation. A public event scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2024 will aim to summarise the outcomes of the first year of the European Blue Forum, fostering a network for shaping the future of our seas.
For those who couldn't attend the workshop, the entire event is accessible via the European Blue Forum website allowing individuals to view the recordings and provide additional comments and perspectives through a dedicated Contribution Form.
Workshop participants are also encouraged to revisit the workshop content at their convenience, including the option to rewatch other sessions and offer their comments or reflections. The overarching objective is to ensure that the Stakeholder position paper represents the voices of as many European Blue Forum members as possible. The European Blue Forum remains committed to incorporating diverse perspectives from all sectors and sea basins, with the input of all Members playing a vital role in presenting a shared vision for the sustainable future of European seas.