Europe’s seas and oceans form an integral part of the European fabric with over a third of EU citizens living within 50km of the coastline. In addition, the European maritime and shipping industries are key employers, and they remain one of the most important means of trade for Member States. The Blue Economy sectors play an integral role in supporting the EU meet its ambitions set out in the European Green Deal and Recovery Plan for Europe. Despite Blue Economy sectors being vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, they also can play a significant role in the transformation of Europe's future economy. This conference brought together policymakers, local government, and industry representatives from the marine, maritime, shipping and technology sectors to explore how Europe can lead the way towards a sustainable blue economy. The keynotes and panels explored the work of policymakers to date in helping to achieve this goal, including the safeguarding of economic growth, the various funding opportunities for innovative projects and R&D initiatives, and the support for small and medium-sized enterprises. Leaders and groups discussed how technology and innovation can reduce the effects of climate change and promote a more sustainable blue economy whilst driving economic growth for all – including harnessing of renewable energy; reducing ocean plastics and waste; and accelerating the digital and green transformation of the shipping industry.
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