Interview with Pascal Lamy, Chair of the Mission Board of EU Mission "Restore our Ocean and Waters": Involvement and challanges of the Western Balkans

Mr. Pascal Lamy, former European Commissioner for Trade and Director General of the World Trade Organisation from 2005-2013 is Chair of the Mission Board of EU Mission "Restore our Ocean and Waters".

How far are the Western Balkans involved in this mission? Can you give us some examples?

As a neighbor of the EU, the Western Balkans region shares the same hydrospheric system, meaning sea, rivers and waters which suffer from the same rapid degradation. These common challenges necessitate common answers which have been framed in the implementation plan of the ”Starfish mission” with its five legs (depollution, protection, blue economy, science and knowledge, governance) in order to restore our European hydrosphere by 2030 with a major increase of funding, mostly, but not only, from the EU research and innovation program. Some projects, such as Blue Air, are already ongoing in the Western Balkans with components such as management of marine ecosystems or of sea level rise. The “Starfish mission” is deployed both from Brussels and from regional coordination platforms among a wide spectrum of stakeholders called “lighthouses”, two of which are relevant for your region: Mediterranean and Danube.

What do you see as the main challenges?

The challenges and action plans are identified along the five legs of the “Starfish” mentioned above: more science, more public awareness, more citizens engagement in order to stop polluting, to better protect fragile ecosystems, to rapidly decarbonize the blue economy (tourism, ports, fishing, fluvial and maritime transport, energy).

What are the next steps to proceed towards the goals of this mission?

The implementation plan of the mission runs over ten years until 2030 with milestones in 2025 and is supervised by a group of experts I have the privilege to chair. The next big even is the launch of the Danube lighthouse which will take place in Bucharest on April 3rd and 4th and which is organized by the Romanian authorities.

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • Natural Sciences

Entry created by Admin on March 27, 2023
Modified on March 29, 2023