By forging connections between science, education and business, maritime clusters can help maintain a strong and sustainable maritime sector in Europe which is essential for Europe to have a strong economy.
This was the key message that Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, shared at a meeting of the European Network of Maritime Clusters (ENMC) on Thursday, 2nd July.
The ENMC represents most of Europe’s maritime industries via 17 national clusters.
“Thanks to the clusters that are now all over Europe, businesses are able to network on innovation, create economies of scale, and cooperate with each other nationally and internationally. The sum of your experience can help us move forward and feed into our decision making, helping us shape better policies. This is why I would be interested to hear your views today,”
Maritime industries account for about 5 million jobs and between 3.5 and 4.5 percent of the EU’s GDP.
However, maritime industries also face a number of challenges, including the paradox of the high level of youth unemployment, and highlighted shortage of qualified technicians. There are difficulties in making the connection between research and businesses across Europe so that good ideas find their way to market, and to determine priorities for investment.
According to ENMC, possible ways to strengthen the sector by improving skills, promoting innovation and taking full advantage of existing funding opportunities, as discussed at the meeting.