2021 EU Blue Economy report: Emerging sectors prepare blue economy for leading part in EU green transition

On the occasion of the European Maritime Day, the Commission released today the fourth edition of its ‘EU Blue Economy Report’, providing an overview of the performance of economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment in the European Union. The sector directly employed close to 4.5 million people in 2018 and generated around €650 billion in turnover. Emerging activities such as ocean energy, marine biotechnology and robotics will play an important role in the EU’s transition towards a carbon-neutral, circular and biodiverse economy. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “This report shows that the blue economy is an important driver of today’s European economy, in coastal communities and beyond. Moreover, with the European Green Deal, its importance will only grow in the future. The sector will contribute to decarbonisation and other European environmental objectives with innovative solutions and by reducing its own footprint. I call on Member States and private investors to support this transformation and invest in a sustainable blue economy.” Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The EU Blue Economy report marks an important milestone towards establishing the European Blue Observatory, a knowledge sharing platform that will enable near real-time monitoring of decarbonisation efforts across Europe’s blue economy sectors.” The report shows an acceleration in the growth of the most established sectors in the blue economy from 2013 to 2018 – seven large sectors ranging from maritime transport and shipbuilding over offshore wind energy to coastal tourism. Gross value added from coastal tourism, the largest blue economy sector in the EU, increased by 20.6% compared to 2009. However, nearly all of them have suffered severely from the COVID-19 crisis with coastal tourism seeing a decrease in activity of around 60 to 80%. The European Maritime Day is the annual EU meeting point for those active in the blue economy. The Commission published earlier this week its proposal for a Sustainable Blue Economy. You can find the 2021 EU Blue Economy report here. More information is in the news item.