Cyprus Maritime Security Seminar

The [EU] presidency will organise a high level seminar on Maritime Security. The seminar will focus on the fight against piracy mainly in the Horn of Africa, highlighting the point of view of a flag state. It will also promote the private/public sectors cooperation in the frame of a global approach to tackle the piracy and its causes.

maritime piracy

Venue: Palm Beach Hotel, Larnaca

Seminar Dates: 12-13.11.2012


Cyprus’s Vision for Blue Marine and Maritime Growth

Article published in the Financial Mirror Newspaper on 23 Oct, 2012

By Constantinos Hadjistassou, Ph.D.*

The “Limassol Declaration,” signed in October 8th will be remembered as one of the hallmarks of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012. Cyprus as a world maritime centre currently possesses the third largest merchant fleet in terms of gross tonnage in the EU and consistently ranks in the top-ten in the world.

Tapping on this vast experience the Cyprus EU presidency has galvanised political will of the rest EU Member States to re-energise the EU’s marine and maritime potential. Blue growth is increasingly seen as a vital means to spur economic growth in the EU. Prevailing facts show that the marine and maritime sectors with a combined annual gross value added of 495 billion euros employ 5.4 million Europeans. Eight-eight million EU citizens are working in coastal regions and about 205 million live in such areas.

Cyprus  MENA countries

For economic prosperity to flourish the Cyprus Presidency proposes that the EU invests in areas with substantial potential such as shipping, shipbuilding, ship equipment industry, coastal and maritime tourism and offshore renewable energy sources.

Although shipbuilding activities are predominantly concentrated in China and Korea, still European maritime clusters generate value by tapping on niche markets such as cruise ships and yacht construction, the offshore oil and gas industry and offshore wind turbines. The discovery of sizeable amounts of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, although not mentioned in the declaration, opens up new opportunities.

Innovations in areas such as offshore wind and coastal solar power generation will offer a competitive edge to EU countries. Wave energy for example remains largely unexploited not just in the EU but at the global level as well. Incentives to spearhead creative thinking with tangible results will push things forward.

In this spirit, Governments have the obligation to allocate funds in Research and Development (R&D) not just in applied but in basic research topics as well. Private sector engagement can also help expedite things squeezing inefficiencies and commercialising any products or services with potential.

Recently, we presented a roadmap [1] as to how Cyprus can transform itself into a regional oil & gas maritime cluster. Despite the lack of state funding in several EU countries there is no obstacle as to providing other incentives such as moderate tax allowances to entrepreneurial companies and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs). Tackling challenges such as shipping and yacht emissions should not per se be viewed as a thread to the competitiveness of an EU Member State but as an opportunity.

For example, lowering the carbon footprint of ships and boats besides the environmental benefits can lead to energy conservation which results in lower operational costs. Higher initial capital costs in equipment, machinery, and training can translate into long term benefits accompanied by tangible financial and climate change gains.

Concluding, for blue growth to positively impact EU economies, Member States have to craft appropriate policies based on a long-term vision. Ultimately, the sustainable exploitation and management of resources be it wind or solar energy or natural resources will lower unemployment and raise the competitiveness of Member States. Carefully planning and execution are quintessential ingredients for policy makers. The paradigm shift in policy must transcend traditional business model boundaries and guides us through the mist.

[1] “Can Cyprus Transform Itself into a Regional Oil and Gas Maritime Hub?” Talk given by author at the University of Cyprus, Sept. 3rd, 2012.

*researcher at the University of Cyprus specialising in hydrocarbons and low-carbon technologies. For more info visit Energy Sequel:

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