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Minister Shatter Highlights The Importance Of Building European Union-Wide Consensus And Cooperation In Relation To Security And Surveillance In The Maritime Domain.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., today outlined one of Ireland’s EU Presidency priorities, addressing the potential for innovation, cooperation and collaboration to enhance Maritime Safety, Security and Surveillance in the EU. Opening the high level seminar on Challenges and Opportunities in Maritime Security and Surveillance for Effective Governance and Innovation in the EU’s Maritime Domain, Minister Shatter emphasised the importance of building an EU-wide consensus to deliver effective security and surveillance in the maritime domain.

Threats and challenges in the Maritime domain and Enhanced cooperation

Acknowledging the many threats and challenges in the Union’s maritime domain, the Minister noted that these have the potential to impact adversely on the security and safety of the Union as a whole and on our citizens and economies. However threats, such as, illegal and uncontrolled migration, illegal fishing, terrorism, piracy, and people and drug trafficking cannot be addressed by individual Member States acting in isolation. “We need to focus on how we can improve cooperation between all the various actors, whether that be naval forces, coastguards, customs, police or other member State security actors engaged in delivering maritime security, safety and surveillance within the Union. We also need to leverage innovation and research instruments to support a more integrated approach to maritime security”, the Minister said.

Programmes and Strategies

Outlining the various EU wide programmes and strategies that are currently in place, and being developed, including, the EU Sea Basins Strategies, the Integrated Maritime Policy, Integrated Maritime Surveillance and the Common Information Sharing Environment, the Minister noted that systems alone will not deliver cooperation and we need to overcome political and institutional impediments to cooperation.

EU Policies and Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan

Minister Shatter referred to Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan – “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth”. The Plan, which sets an overarching target to double the value of our ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030, recognises that good governance and, in particular, effective maritime safety, security and surveillance are vital to achieving Ireland’s vision and goals for the marine. Linking Ireland’s objectives in the marine to wider EU policies, the Minister noted that the EU’s seas and oceans provide an essential contribution to our wealth and wellbeing and hold immense untapped economic opportunities, in terms of energy, food and mineral resources. It is a very significant resource worth protecting. However, “in order to achieve these benefits closer cross-sector and cross-border cooperation is required” the Minister said.

The seminar, to be attended by 140 delegates, will be addressed by a range of high level speakers from European Commission, European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency, NATO and national and international academics and practitioners.

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