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Bulgaria fights for the city of Burgas to host the European Maritime Day in 2015

18 April 2013 / 17:04:37  GRReporter
2433 reads

Victoria Mindova

Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Kristian Krastev is lobbying for the city of Burgas to host the European Maritime Day in 2015 or 2016. He has been invited to take part in the conference on "Mediterranean blue economy: enhancing marine and maritime cooperation", which is taking place in Athens. Organizers of the event are the European Commission, the International Maritime Organization and the European Investment Bank.

"My main goal here is to try to attract the European Maritime Day to take place in the city of Burgas in 2015 or 2016. This is the main purpose of the conversation, which will be held with Special Commissioner for Maritime Policy and Fisheries Maria Damanaki," Minister Krastev told GRReporter exclusively.

The Minister presented to the international audience the main projects that Bulgaria has developed in the context of improving the maritime industry as well as the policies pursued to improve tourism and infrastructure. Beyond the speeches and the formal part of the forum, his efforts are focused on talks aiming to make the city of Burgas the host of the European Maritime Day in the medium term.

Krastev explains that the conference is focusing on the Mediterranean region and the measures that are expected to be taken due to the development of maritime transport and tourism. "We have presented our ongoing policies and practices for the development of the blue economy in the Black Sea and in general, I think that they correspond to the Common European Maritime Policy."

Krastev believes that if the European celebration takes place in the city of Burgas its contribution to the specific municipality but also to the country as a whole will be significant. It will stimulate the tourist inflow and can give some impetus to the promotion of cruise tourism in the Black Sea. In relation to the interest in Bulgarian ports along the Danube River expressed by Greek businessmen, Krastev said, "All strategic investors are welcome in Bulgaria and especially those who have extensive experience in this field."

Meanwhile, the talks in Athens within the context of the forum on the "blue" development focused on the possibilities for closer cooperation between Mediterranean countries in maritime transport and trade.

"We need to look at the Mediterranean region as a source of wealth and prosperity," said Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, who spoke at the Forum in Athens as well. He stresses that it is expected that the capacity of ports will increase by 60% in the coming decades, which means that the maritime sector can provide new tools to stimulate economic growth in a period of crisis and recession. At the same time, there has been an imbalance in the cargo distribution at European ports - 80% of maritime cargo is unloaded at ports in northern Europe and only 20% of the goods reach the south ports.

Nevertheless, 150 million people live along the Mediterranean Sea line, 30% of seaborne trade crosses the sea as well as 20% of seaborne oil. The turnover of European maritime economy is almost 500 billion euro and the sector provides more than 5.5 million jobs. It is expected that these numbers will increase by 2020 - the turnover will exceed 600 billion euro and the jobs will be more than seven million.

The Mediterranean region has a great and unused potential that will promote economic growth as stated by Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in the European Union.

She stresses that the first priority of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union is to stimulate the creation of maritime clusters in the Mediterranean region. According to Damanaki, maritime clusters (which mean cooperation between a number of small business units with the same strategic objective) are not associated only with ports and shipping activities, but also with other sectors that will bring added value to the synergies in the development of the "blue economy".

Another important goal according to the Commissioner is to keep the peace in the Mediterranean. SAFEMED project is already operating and it helps the Mediterranean partners maintain the safety of navigation routes. Thirdly, the European Union is focused on creating a Virtual Knowledge Centre, which will collect and classify all the existing information related to the maritime sector.

"One of my most difficult tasks as Commissioner for Maritime Affairs was to try to convince other organizations to share the information that is available to them," said Damanaki. She explains that the beginning of the virtual centre has been laid and that it will provide information to all those who need it and will contribute towards making the connections between the various institutions operating in the maritime sector closer.

Tags: EconomyMarketsKrastevBurgasAthensEuropean Maritime Day
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