Inaugural addresses at Euromaritime 2015

Opening of the 2015 Euromaritime and Eurowaterways Trade Show - Keynote speech by Commissioner Karmenu Vella

Paris, 03 February 2015

Karmenu Vella - Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Dear Minister, Honourable Member of the European Parliament, President, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here today at Euromaritime. Having just visited some of the stands at this exhibition, it is clear to me that the European maritime industry has the full potential to become world leader. This is a crucial moment for your business. It's a crucial moment for the blue economy. From your sector, the maritime economy, we can hope for a real push to help our economic recovery and to create the jobs of the future. Read more

Opening of the 2015 Euromaritime and Eurowaterways Trade Show - Inaugural Address by ENMC Chairman Francis Vallat


Paris, 03 February 2015


Bienvenue à tous, et tout particulièrement à Monsieur le Commissaire Karmenu Vella, Commissaire à l’environnement, aux affaires maritimes, à la pêche. Notre commissaire vert et bleu !

Bienvenue aussi Madame Gesine Meissner, présidente de l'Intergroupe « Mers, Rivières, Iles et Zones côtières » au Parlement européen, qui a réussi à ce qu’existe cet important intergroupe et – je crois – en a fait démarrer l’organisation et les travaux en janvier,

L’un et l’autre ont choisi Euromaritime pour leur première grande sortie !

Bienvenue à Monsieur le Ministre Alain Vidalies (que nous aurons plaisir à nouveau jeudi à l’occasion du Comité stratégique de la filière navale avec votre collègue Emmanuel Macron, que je salue aussi par anticipation), Votre présence ce matin, après celle aux Assises de décmbre prouve que le MEDDE répond au plus haut niveau. MERCI d’être là !


Permettez-moi, maintenant amis français, en tant que Président d’un Salon international, de poursuivre en anglais, non que je ne tienne au français comme l’une des langues officielles de l’UE, mais par courtoisie vis-à-vis de nos invités plus anglophones…

At the same dates, at the same location as in 2013, the European maritime and professionals of the maritime economy, at first with Euromaritime (now a first-class brand), but also for the first time with the river economy (with the first edition of Eurowaterways, fully supported by “Entreprendre pour le Fluvial”, and chaired by my dear colleague Christine Bonteil), are gathered and happy to show their dynamism. They know that they have found here THE showroom for their talents, know-how and excellency, in all or about all their fields of activities: building, repairs, equipments obviously, but also security, safety, river transportation of passengers and cargoes, and of course renewable energies…on top of new sectors such as ports and the offshore industry. All of them being supported by many European and national institutions (you could find the whole list in our brochure) and with the sponsorship of prestigious entities, which I thank whole heartedly. Whether they are public or private institutions, such as the ENMC, the CMF or our dear Marine Nationale, or industrial leaders, such as GDF Indosuez or Alstom. I pay tribute to them as I pay tribute to Luxembourg and Finland for their exceptional commitment and their collective stands, as it is the case for some of the river business by the way.

Thanks to them, thanks to you all, this show should be a success, with to-day  306 exhibitors on about 8500 square meters, out of which more than one third are from various countries of Europe, whilst over 50 % of non French are and will be amongst the impressive gathering of VIP’s talking at our various conferences and workshops. An event which will be followed by over 50 various medias, and attended by numerous personalities  from abroad – minister, ambassadors but not only - or from France (if one refers to the numerous European or national MP’s who have announced their participation: Alain Cadec, Patricia Adam, Marc Le Fur, Hervé Morin, Isabelle Thomas, Jean-Luc Mélanchon, Marine Le Pen, Florian Philippot, Sylvie Goddyn) and hopefully our maritime friends Frédéric Cuvillier, but also (time permitting, quite a challenge!), Jean-Yves Le Drian.


Let me now add one or two words, around the concept of « European Maritime Power », which will be the topic of our first conference this morning, just after this opening session. This in my double capacity of President of Euromaritime and of the European Network of Maritime Clusters, ie firmly believing in the necessity that our European Union, which is already a maritime Power on the paper in about all respects (shipping, ports, offshore and deep-sea works, fishing, tourism, energies, struggle against pollutions and protection of the environment and so many other ones…), becomes something else than a paper tiger. Indeed the eminent rank of Europe in all these fields; to-day mainly flatters or indulges our vanity, but does not make from our Europe  a real maritime power (and I do not even refer to our maritime defense, at the time when most of our Member-States reduce or limit their military maritime forces whilst the Bric States, and China, Russia, Japan, Korea and many others, strongly develop their navies).  As a matter of fact our individual leading positions in various maritime industries do not really mean any, or at least do not mean enough, a leadership of Europe in the maritime world  (but only – and we like it - in the very valuable field of maritime safety, since the efforts and strategy launched by Loyola de Palacio which mainly but not only illustrated by the three Erika packages).


My last words in that respect  will be to state friendly, firmly and loudly – as I already mentioned it when inaugurating Euromaritime in 2013, before and with the support of Maria Damanaki (a support which she repeated to me in Athens a bit later) – that we urgently need two basic tools:

a) A maritime Data base: Limassol/Blue gross/ 2012 . Basis of everything. Meetings in Brussels. Only the Commission

b)A real transversal maritime organization, as we have in France and other  countries, gathering, organizing and dynamising the maritime economy; dialoguing with the NGO’s and facilitating the relationship between the Brussels governing entities (Commission, Parliament) and the European maritime world as a whole. The ENMC, which I chair, is working hard into that direction, making a lot of efforts to progressively become a full European Maritime Cluster (as is the CMF in France, or the SMC in Spain, or the DMC in Holland). Already to-day we coordinate the work of 17 national maritime clusters (coming from 5 when the ENMC was officially created in my office in 2005). We do it in whole transparency with the Commission which has been attending all our annual general meetings in various cities of Europe since inception.  But to go further, to become a fully efficient organization, we now need the support of the Commission, and not only in words ! From that point of view, this year and year 2016 will be crucial and I put a lot of hope in our  to-days’s and future discussions Mr Vella and his staff, for the mutual benefit of both the Commission and the maritime community, and above all of maritime Europe. Our insistence is no arrogancy whatsoever, it just reflects, firmly but politely, our sincere will to reach a goal which is so obviously of common interest…but which was so difficult to launch !


Last but not least, I am proud to announce to all of you that this Euromaritime 2015 is the place where a very important “premiere” will occur, which is the official launching (this Thursday by beg afternoon) of BLUEDOME. What is Bluedome? Since 2010  - ie during 5 years –  upon the recommendation and in the frame of a so-called “synergy working group” of the CMF, various actors worked together (above 80 expert or members participated, coming from Defense industrial firms, shipowners, fishermen, offshore companies, NGO’s, equipment suppliers, shipbuilders, security companies, insurers, brokers, classification societies, nautical industry, pilots, maritime education entities AND our navy “Marine Nationale” as advisers). As a result they have conceived and built together a wonderful, powerful, sophisticated but simple, flexible and – before all – efficient “product”, which is a system of autoprotection of ships (detection, deterrent, protection) against piracy or terrorism. Trials have been made with simulations of attacks by marine commandos etc… and to-day a consortium of 9 companies has been created under the leadership of SAGEM, and will soon (in a few weeks) deliver its product, available for all shipowners in the world. And I can already tell you that it is an impressive tool….


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