PRESS RELEASE – Strasbourg, 12th July 2007
Maritime Policy for the EU
EU must tackle the pollution of the seas
Following the vote by the European Parliament on the EU Maritime Policy in plenary today, Finnish Green MEP and vice-chair of the Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:
“We welcome the intention of the Commission to establish a holistic maritime policy. We are pleased that Piecyk report addresses several important environmental issues, as proposed by the Committee of Environment. Climate change is leading not only to sea-level rise, but also increasing the damage caused by more frequent storms and higher waves.
“The Parliament acknowledged that we need to take into consideration the sea level rise when planning development along coastlines. However, I regret that the Parliament refused to be consistent and to ban new nuclear power stations in the coastal areas.
“Our continued pumping of CO2 from fossil fuels into the atmosphere is radically changing the chemistry of our planet. The oceans have been an important sink of this greenhouse gas, but this is leading to acidification of sea-water, which has profound impacts to all marine life.
“The state of the marine environment has already been seriously damaged by e.g. over-fishing and the depletion of fish stocks, pollution from marine transport and other industries. Short-sighted over fishing has led to immense biodiversity loss that requires significant reductions in fishing to allow stocks to recover. Reductions in the land-based emissions, is also required to help fish stocks recover.
“The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted sea areas in the world, and a major contributor to this is the agricultural run-off, which is aggravated by the Common Agricultural Policy. I am glad that the Parliament asked the Commission to prepare a specific Baltic Sea strategy to protect this vulnerable sea.
“The Parliament also wants to address maritime transports contribution to climate change, and stated that EU must strive for getting the maritime emissions included into the Post 2012 climate framework.
“Ship-sourced air pollutant emissions will exceed those from land-based sources in Europe in the foreseeable future. Also these must be tackled to clean the air we breathe.
“I am also pleased that the Parliament recognized the serious environmental damage that the military can cause and agreed that the military activities be subject to environmental assessments.”