European ministers will be asked at a summit in Cyprus next month to put jobs growth from marine industries including offshore wind at the heart of their government strategies.
In a report on "Blue Growth" on Thursday, the European Commission states the marine and maritime economy will be vital in helping Europe's economic recovery.
According to the report, the marine sectors support 5.4m jobs and contribute a total gross value added of around €500bn. By 2020, there could be an increase to 7m jobs and nearly €600bn respectively.
For offshore wind, the report cites European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) figures that 35,000 were employed in 2010, estimated to increase to 170,000 in 2020.
Another source in the report estimates that the growth of the offshore wind sector will lead to the creation of 134,000 new direct jobs and 165,000 indirect jobs over the next decade.
The Commission claimed yesterday’s publication of the Blue Growth report would launch “a process which will place the blue economy firmly on the agenda of member states, regions, enterprise and civil society”.
EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: “All parts of Europe's economy are essential in lifting us through this difficult period. The 'blue economy' presents opportunities for sustainable economic growth both in established and emerging marine and maritime sectors."
EWEA welcomed the report, stressing that to achieve its expected growth the offshore wind sector requires a policy framework that provides long-term regulatory certainty.
“EWEA welcomes the Commission’s strategy for the maritime sector and hopes concrete policy initiatives will follow,” said EWEA regulatory affairs advisor for offshore wind Anne-Bénédicte Genachte.
“More specifically, EWEA looks forward to the legislative proposal on Maritime Spatial Planning the Commission should publish soon. Maritime Spatial Planning is key to Blue Growth and should not be further delayed.”
The Blue Growth report will feature as one of the main issues for discussion during the Cyprus ministerial conference on the Integrated Maritime Policy being held in Limassol on 8 October.