The Atlantic Initiative welcomes the Portuguese Presidency – An exclusive interview!


In 2023, Portugal will chair the Atlantic Strategy Committee in accordance with the principle of rotation among the participating countries (IE, FR, PT and ES) of the Atlantic Strategy. As referred to in the 2022 EU Blue Economy Report “It is also important to know the extent of Blue Economy activities by sea basin to be able to determine the effects of the Blue Economy at a regional level.” The Atlantic Sea Basin has unique features due to its geography, the model of governance and the potential and opportunities.

(Director General for Maritime Policy, Marisa Lameiras da Silva, Atlantic Steering Committee Chair, March 2022)

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How will the Portuguese Presidency take advantage of what was accomplished in these 3 years of the Atlantic Action Plan and how will you enhance and take it to the next level this year?

In 2023, the revised Atlantic Action Plan (AAP 2.0) will complete 3 years of implementation, and it’s time to take stock of the achievements made so far regarding its objectives, namely, to unlock the potential of sustainable blue economy in the Atlantic area while preserving marine ecosystems and contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Portuguese Presidency intends to promote the discussion about the achievements of the AAP 2.0 and blue economy challenges in the Atlantic Sea Basin. This debate should be enlarged to all stakeholders, including national, regional and local authorities, economic and social actors, civil society, academia and non-governmental organisations. One of the main goals is a Ministerial meeting with the members of government responsible for Maritime Affairs of the Atlantic Strategy members States and The European Commission. The AAP 2.0 brought along novel features such as the four thematic pillars and related Task Forces led by a pillar coordinator.

One of the goals of this Presidency is the internationalization of the AAP, how do you envision making this a reality and spread the word to the remaining Atlantic countries?

The Presidency will closely follow up the work of the Pillars, bearing in mind that the development of sustainable Blue Economy in the Atlantic Sea Basin lies at the heart of the AAP 2.0, i.e., combining sustainable transformation with a high job creation potential in the Atlantic coastal communities. Another goal is related to the international dimension of the Atlantic Action Plan 2.0. The research and innovation activities implemented as part of the Galway and Belém Statements and the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance cut across all pillars. The Portuguese Presidency agrees that only a “better understanding of the changing Atlantic Ocean and its effects on coastal communities can provide innovative solution.”

Focusing on the near future, and with the European Maritime Day just around the corner, how will the Presidency support this event and how do you see its connection with the Atlantic Action Plan?

The first EMD was held in Brussels 15 years ago under the slogan “A regional approach to the implementation of maritime policy”. Last year, was held in Ravenna under the slogan “Sustainable blue economy for green recovery”. This year will be held in Brest, an Atlantic city and above all a hub of blue economy. During these 15 years the EMD has proven every year that it is the “annual EU meeting point on maritime affairs and sustainable blue growth, and the place where ‘Ocean Leaders Meet’” as referred by DGMARE website. The Portuguese Presidency of the ASC strongly supports the EMD2023 and urges all stakeholders to submit all kind applications, notably those fully in line with the Atlantic Action Plan 2.0 promoting partnerships and cooperation on blue sectors across the Atlantic.