Following its launch at the beginning of 2010, the Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup is now celebrating the end its first mandate of existence. Since the European Commission launched its consultation on the creation of an Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) in 2007, the interest in launching a policy discussion in favor of the sea has grown significantly. The work achieved by the Intergroup has confirmed the need for a forum for open exchange in the European Parliament, for those MEPs interested in maritime affairs, to debate and to be kept informed, but above all a forum that would facilitate MEPS’ direct influence on legislation.
Through an intense programme of seminars, public hearings, the investment of approximately 40 Parliamentarians coming from 13 countries and with the valuable support of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), the Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup has made an undisputed contribution to the emergence and the updating of issues considered as priorities by our members. In particular, the issues of maritime security, conditions of the exploitation of offshore oil, protection of marine biodiversity, marine and maritime research, maritime industries, European coastguards and marine renewable energies.

Our aim has been to form as many links as possible between issues that up to now have been dealt with in a compartmentalized way. We have endeavored to treat these issues whilst bearing in mind key aspects: in particular employment, environment and health. We have also been careful to open up our discussions on each occasion to the range of stakeholders without being partisan, thereby paving the way for a constructive dialogue between actors from the institutions and those representing the economic sector and civil society.
The Intergroup’s initial objective of gaining recognition as a credible actor in Brussels in the maritime field and facilitating the emergence of key subjects on the Community’s agenda has been fulfilled. At our level, we want to push to see that law-makers are no longer fighting yesterday’s battles, but rather should be forward looking through the anticipation of problems, rather than suffering them a posteriori and taking emergency action.

Few words from the MEPs

Commissioner Sinkevičius discusses impact of COVID-19 crisis on EU maritime sectors with SEARICA Board

Brussels, 19 May 2020

Today, the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup had the honour and pleasure to host an exchange of views between its Board Members and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

The meeting, proposed by the Commissioner to address the SEArica Declaration on the Covid-19 crisis, marks the first step towards a strengthen collaboration between the Intergroup Members and the European Commission with the aim of ensuring that needs of the sector are met in the crisis and post-crisis context. “Seas and oceans, rivers and islands are more than ever at the heart of the strategic challenges facing the European Union” said MEP Tonino Picula, President of the Intergroup, “As Members of SEArica, we are supporting this message, and we are standing to promote a strong maritime dimension across the different EU policies”.

The Vice-Chairs of the Intergroup, each of them responsible for a particular policy issue and/or sea basin, stressed the difficult situation that coastal territories are facing and called on the European Commission for further urgent measures in support to a sustainable and timely recovery. The European Commission is due to publish a revised proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 and a EU Recovery Plan by the end of May.

What is an Intergroup?

The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup is one of the 28 Intergroups that were approved on 11 December 2014 by the Conference of Presidents. Intergroups can be formed by MEPs from any political group and any parliamentary committee with a view to holding informal exchanges of views on particular issues and to promoting contact between MEPs and civil society.

The Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup brings together more than 80 MEPs from six different political groups and from 19 Member States.

Intergroups are not Parliament bodies and therefore may not express Parliament's opinion.

Intergroups are subject to internal rules adopted by the Conference of Presidents on 16 December 1999 (last updated on 11 September 2014), which set out the conditions under which intergroups may be established at the beginning of each parliamentary term and their operating rules.