Potential of EU's maritime sector also lies with its incredible heritage

We must not forget the deep-rooted heritage of Europe's maritime sector, writes Tonino Picula.

By Tonino Picula

Tonino Picula (S&D, HR) is Chair of the Working group for the Western Balkans and a member of the Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo

18 May 2016

In its efforts to remain the world's number one economy, the EU should not forget to also remain a leader in terms of environmental and climate protection. Europe should balance its ongoing quest for economic growth with pursuing high-class technological solutions.

The potential of Europe's maritime industry and its related sector does not only lie with its modern trade fleet and specialised shipyards, but also with its incredible, millennia-long heritage.

Sustainability should not be limited to balancing growth without endangering the future, it should also be about how we integrate our tangible and intangible heritage, which is deeply rooted in many local communities.


Contemporary civilisation, in its continual pursuit of economic growth, has not left a single spot on earth untouched - not least the Mediterranean. Old crafts and trades are slowly being forgotten. Memories of times when we looked to nature for advice, when it was valued and respected, have gone.

Today, we pay respect to nature by visiting certain carefully selected and partially protected tourist and recreational destinations and looking around national parked and nature reserves - strictly bounded and usually sterile areas, in which we observe without really living.

We must not forget that the true strength of Europe's economy depends not so much on large investments and imports, but rather on dynamic and numerous SMEs.

This is particularly true for the maritime sector, with the added benefit that investing in small traditional shipyards and boat owners helps preserve maritime heritage and strengthen the cohesion of small communities.