On March 18, 2013, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Ireland, Marine Institute Ireland, and the Delegation of the European Union, organized an event featuring Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of Marine Institute Ireland. Dr. John Delaney, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Washington, moderated the discussion and Cathy O’Connor, First Secretary at the Embassy of Ireland, offered opening remarks. Dr. Heffernan argued that the Atlantic Ocean is a largely untapped resource and a potential source of great economic growth for the U.S. and the EU, especially in times of financial distress. He also stressed the importance of close collaboration between Europe and the United States and that their shared interests can be a good starting point for deeper transatlantic maritime cooperation and increasing “blue growth.”

On December 13, 2012, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Portugal, held a seminar on the opportunities for greater transatlantic cooperation on blue growth, as both sides of the Atlantic seek to make the most of economic and innovation opportunities offered by the oceans. The transatlantic implications of the Panama Canal's expansion on U.S. and European maritime infrastructure,shipping sectors and global trade were also examined. Speakers included: Professor Manuel Pinto Abreu, Portugal’s Secretary of State of Sea; Tommy Beaudreau, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of the Interior; Dr. David Conover, Director, Division of Ocean Science at the National Science Foundation; Greg Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the Virginia Port Authority; Yvette Fields, Director of Deepwater Ports and Offshore Activities, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation; Arthur Moye, Executive Vice President of the Virginia Maritime Association; Lidia Sequeira, President of Portugal’s Port of Sines; and The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse, Co-Chair of the Oceans Caucus in the United States Senate. Dr. Wayne Talley, Economics Professor and Executive Director, International Maritime, Ports and Logistics Management Institute at Old Dominion University moderated the discussion.

Amid ongoing international discussions about the Arctic sea as it unfreezes more of the year and opens for traffic, Russian maritime companies are starting to use its widening channels as a sea route that can shorten the distance between Europe and Asia during longer and longer parts of the summer as the polar ice pack recedes. Running along Russia’s shore, this expanding new “Northern Sea Route” is the sea-going version of the “over the pole” flights that have become routine for aircraft. [Here is a New York Times map of the NSR through the Eastern Arctic]

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The United States and European Union signed this week an agreement to fight illegal fishing which, according to EU estimates, costs EU fishermen 23 billion euro per year.  The agreement calls for cooperation and the free flow of information between the EU and US in combating this growing problem.

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The Baltic Sea is generally imagined in people’s minds as part of a pristine northern Europe, but sadly it is actually one of the most polluted seas in the world. Its condition is a challenge for the nine littoral states and their populations – 90 million people -- living in its catchment area.

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