Bulgaria, Romania to Launch Pilot Project on Intelligent Use of Black Sea
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Bulgaria and Romania are to launch a pilot project on the intelligent use of the Black Sea in the marine border between the two countries. This was announced by European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella in Sofia on Tuesday.
Vella participated in the opening of the Second Black Sea Stakeholders Conference on blue economy, which represented his first official visit to Bulgaria. Vella started his speech by highlighting that the Black Sea is of enormous geographical, environmental and economic importance. The Commissioner said that the five largest sectors of the blue economy provide 160 000 jobs and generate Gross Value Added of over 1.2 billion euros in Bulgaria and Romania. Vella called on littoral states to cooperate in sectors such as coastal tourism, fisheries and shipping, as these areas hold great potential for job creation. He expressed his full commitment towards maritime cooperation and assured that he is to act as an effective supporter of the region. The Commissioner called for more smart synergies, which strike the right balance between economic pursuits and environmental protection.
Vella reaffirmed the EU's willingness to join the Bucharest Convention as this would bring political and economic benefits to the countries of the region. In his opinion, there were more tourism opportunities to be explored and pointed to the EU-funded project “Black Sea Silk Road Corridor”, which retraces the route of the Western Silk Road. The EU official added that the Union was supporting the creation of a single digital map of Europe's seabed, which will include information on its geology, habitats and marine life.