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News announcement31 May 2018Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries3 min read

Black Sea countries pledge closer maritime cooperation as European Maritime Day 2018 kicks off in Burgas, Bulgaria

Commissioner Karmenu Vella is in Burgas, Bulgaria welcoming more than 1000 participants from the maritime sector for the 2018 edition of the European Maritime Day. 

For the first time since its conception, the European Maritime Day takes place in the Black Sea region.

The European Commission together with the Bulgarian EU Presidency have dedicated the conference to showcasing cross-border cooperation around the Black Sea. Ministers and representatives from Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine reaffirmed their commitment to work more closely with the endorsement of a Declaration towards a Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea

Commissioner Vella said:

This year’s European Maritime Day is a defining moment for the Black Sea region. For more than a decade, the Commission has been working with the region’s countries to promote the sustainable use of the Black Sea’s marine and maritime resources. Together, we have achieved significant breakthroughs in fisheries management, in research and blue growth. The declaration endorsed by ministers today paves the way for more structured and pragmatic cooperation on all things maritime. My own hope would be for a common maritime agenda to take shape by 2019, with coastal states launching joint action the following year. In addition, researchers of the Black Sea region set out their vision for a future common research and innovation agenda, inspired by EU funded projects.

European Maritime Day opened this morning with a political session with ministers from Black Sea countries and a high-level debate on "Big Bang Black Sea", looking at the current state of maritime cooperation in the region as well as future perspectives and targets.

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend stakeholder workshops and pitch presentations addressing a broad palette of maritime issues such as the blue economy, maritime spatial planning, maritime security, surveillance and information exchange, marine research, innovation and technologies, sea basin cooperation & strategies.

Tomorrow the conference continues with more workshops and info sessions, presentations of EMD-themed events organised in other EU countries, a plenary session on the EU funds for Blue Growth and sea-basin cooperation, and the launch of a campaign by NGO Surfrider to ‘Vote for the Ocean’ at the European elections in 2019.

The event is being live-streamed on the European Maritime Day website:


European Maritime Day is an annual series of maritime-themed events all over Europe. The main event is the European Maritime Day Conference, organised each year by the Commission in a different European country around a different theme and usually attracting over 1,000 guests. The event aims to provide a forum for people from different areas of the ocean economy to meet, discuss cross-cutting issues, learn from each other, and develop joint visions and action.

The 2018 edition of the EMD conference, organised together with the Bulgarian EU Presidency and the Municipality of Burgas, is taking place on 31 May and 1 June in Burgas, Bulgaria.

Previous EMD conferences include:

  • Poole 2017: "The Future of our Seas".
  • Turku 2016: "Investing in blue growth – smart and sustainable solutions"
  • Piraeus 2015: "Ports and Coasts, Gateways to Maritime Growth"
  • Bremen 2014: "Innovation driving Blue Growth"
  • Valletta 2013: "Coastal Development and Sustainable Maritime Tourism"
  • Gothenburg 2012: "Sustainable Growth from the Oceans, Seas and Coasts"
  • Gdansk 2011: "Maritime Policy: Putting People First"
  • Gijón 2010: "How to foster innovation?"
  • Rome 2009: "Integrated Maritime Policy and the contribution of maritime clusters"
  • Brussels 2008: "A regional approach to the implementation of Maritime Policy"

For more details, please visit: or see #EMD2018.

Speeches by Commissioner Vella: