Leonardo Manzari and Irene Alonso at UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

WestMED goes full Mediterranean at the UfM stakeholder conference 2024

The WestMED Initiative actively participated in the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, which took place in Athens on February 19 and 20, 2024.

The WestMED Initiative follows up on the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue Economy endorsed by the Union for Mediterranean (UfM) which took place on the 17 November 2015, inviting the participating countries to explore the added value and feasibility of appropriate maritime strategies at sub-regional level, and build on the experience of the 5+5 Dialogue.

In October 2016, Foreign Affairs Ministers from Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia encouraged further work on an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy, alongside the UfM Secretariat.

In the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (2021), Ministers “welcome the successful completion of the launch of the ‘Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean’ (WestMED)”, and “recognise both the WestMED initiative as successful examples of cooperation, focused on clear goals, priorities and measurable targets and as a catalyst for the development of sustainable blue economy projects in the region”.

The endorsing countries pursue the same priorities under the UfM Working Group and the WestMED Steering Committee: fostering the promotion of the blue economy, achieving a safer maritime space and improving the maritime governance.

Conference involvement
On the occasion of the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, the WestMED Initiative assisted the UfM both in terms of organization and participation.

At  institutional level, the new WestMED Portuguese Co-Presidency represented by Ms. Marisa Lameiras da Silva, Director General for Maritime Policy in Portugal participated as one of the key speakers in the session of marine renewable energy, providing the success case of Portugal developing offshore energy and its potential replicability in the Mediterranean.

From the Commission side, Ms. Delilah Al Khudhairy, Director for Maritime Policy and Blue Economy, Mr. Christos Economou, Head of Unit for Maritime Regional Cooperation and Mr. Manuel Pleguezuelo, policy officer and WestMED coordinator from DG MARE, participated in numerous sessions showing a strong commitment to the sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean. The same for Ms. Anja Detant (CINEA), as project manager of the WestMED Assistance Mechanism contract, who highlighted the WestMED Initiative and the award winning projects during the ‘Spotlights on Projects’ session.

At operational level, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism participated in different workshops as experts, moderators and rapporteurs, providing technical expertise. They also supported the UfM Secretariat behind-the-scenes in the development of the Conference.

The conference served as a crucial milestone to assess progress, discuss challenges, and engage the entire Mediterranean Sustainable Blue Economy Community in shaping further deliberations at political and practical level.

A concrete example of succesful cooperation beyond the western Mediterranean was the MoU signed during the conference among the Tunisian and Greek Maritime Clusters  (with groundwork through the WestMED Cluster Alliance) to further boost the blue economy between the western and eastern Mediterranean.


Anja Detant at UfM conference 2024

Samir Bachouche-and Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Thanos Smanis, Isabelle Perret, Christos Economou at the UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

UfM stakeholder Conference - speakers with thumbs up

Photos: copyright UfM secretariat

European Blue Announcement with  2 cover pages of eu blue forum position papares 2024

The European Blue Forum Stakeholder Position Papers are out!

The European Blue Forum consisting of stakeholders from all 5  EU sea basins has published its first 2 Position papers related to key issues concerning the European Seas

Paper 1: What do we need from European Seas by 2030, and are we asking too much?
Paper 2: What does a fossil fuel free sustainable blue economy look like? How can we as a community support this transition?

These 2 papers, crafted collaboratively by European Blue Forum members through insightful discussions over the past 10 months are now accessible.

The documents are set to serve as a significant statement on maritime and coastal stakeholders’ common issues, challenges and future expectations for our European Seas. They gather the needs of the European Blue Forum members and provides the main axes of action for the years to come.

The papers will be presented during a public meeting of the inter-parliamentary group SEARICA in Brussels on 7th March 2024.

Download the papers

announcement poster EMD 2024

Apply for a stand at the EMD exhibition!

The last time stakeholders had the possibility to get together as exhibitors was in 2023.

The European Commission, the City of Svendborg and the Danish Maritime Authority are happy to be able to offer this possibility once again and to give stakeholders the chance to showcase their projects and initiatives in an exhibition.

All  corresponding information can be found through the EMD website, or by direct link EMD 2024 call for exhibition.

The deadline to apply is the 22 March 2024 at 23h59. Please note that the call is launched on a “first come first served” basis and the call may therefore be closed before the deadline if the amount of applicants already reaches the threshold.

WestMED stand at Euromaritime 2024

First joint WestMED and Atlantic Action Plan national event at EUROMARITIME 2024

This event was the first joint national event connecting the Atlantic Action Plan and the WestMED initiative. It was organised by the French national hub for the WestMED and the Atlantic Assistance Mechanism

The event kicked off with recalling the 2023 Ministerial Declarations, that serve as parties’ commitment to both sea basin strategies. It was also the opportunity to announce the Presidency of the Atlantic Action Plan for France and share a message of the new incoming  WestMED Portuguese Presidency (see video) with the Euromaritime  audience that consisted mainly of French stakeholders.

Sea basin synergies and project examples
Regional authorities from Sud and Bretagne (see video) presented their blue economy engagements and some of the actions related to cooperation between the sea basins. Projects related to smart ports and decarbonization of the shipping sector were presented as good examples supporting both sea basin initiatives while having with strong synergies to be shared and replicated.
(see presentation 1 | see presentation 2)

Funding opportunities
The event was also an opportunity to highlight ongoing and future funding opportunities to be considered for new initiatives and projects with the purpose to ensure the engagement/participation from the French blue economy Community. A focus on the Innovation fund was made as its last call is now open to decarbonization in the maritime industry.
(see presentation 3)

The support provided by the Assistance Mechanism to develop projects with the stakeholders was recalled with the pivotal role of the two Poles Mer (Pôle Mer Méditerranée and Pole Mer  Bretagne Atlantique)  to ensure the relay of bottom-up ideas projects to be implemented via the EU funding opportunities.

EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism for the WestMED and the Atlantic
The French National Hub’s attendance during Euromaritime was also the opportunity to provide a dedicated explanation and discussion related to both initiatives and the Assitance Mechanism  with the visitors (EU MPs, regional authorities, NGOs but also SMEs). For this reason a dedicated EU Sea Basins booth was available at the Pole Mer Mediterranee stand, to promote the work of the EU Sea Basins Mechanism and the objectives of the two sea basin strategies.
(see presentation  4)

Main next steps

  • Lessons learned of the presented project to be promoted in each sea basin but also between the seas basins
  • Dissemination of the call for interest of the Smart Ports “En Grand” to be launched in February 2024 where national and international stakeholders can bid on and follow up of the results
  • Support to be provided by the French National Hub to Grand Port en Grand initiative to identify additional funding to support the initiative and enlarging it to other territories (national and international)

National and regional stakeholders who were speakers:
Région Sud, Région Bretagne, Pole Mer Méditerranée , Pole Mer Bretagne Atlantique, Université Aix Marseille, Grand Port Maritime de Marseille, French DG Maritime Affaires and Fisheries, Bouygues Energies & Services, CCI Aix Marseille Provence


You can contact the Assistance Mechanism’s National Hub in France directly via |

WestMED stand at Euromaritime 2024

Frédérick Herpers WestMED presenting at Euromaritime 2024

Catherine Chabaud at Euromariotime 2024 at WestMED stand

report cover

Report: A sustainable blue economy for the Mediterranean: challenges, opportunities and policy pathways

A new policy report, commissioned by the European Commission (DG Near) to the EuroMeSCo network, and developed by eco-union under the supervision of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), aims to assess the status and potential of the sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean region, including an analysis of socioeconomic benefits and impacts in relevant Blue Economy activities.

This report not only encapsulates the current state of the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean but also serves as a guide for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders, pointing towards a future where sustainable practices drive economic growth while safeguarding the invaluable marine ecosystems of the region.

Download the report

Source: Eco-Union website


announcement poster for the WestMED 2023 factsheet

WestMED 2023 factsheet is out now!

The WestMED 2023 factsheet is out listing its major achievements.

Goals, priorities, governance, stories, number of projects supported and much more in one quick overview

Download your copy from the publications page


MED MSP Community of Practice: experts from across the Mediterranean unite to share experiences and align perspectives

On 26 On January 2023, CINEA together with DG MARE, launched the ‘Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning for the Mediterranean’, with the support of the WestMED Initiative, the MSP Assistance Mechanism and Union for Mediterranean.

This is a voluntary, enthusiastic group of experts from EU and non-EU countries working on MSP in the Mediterranean.

It was established based on a growing need from the MSP Community for a continuous and structured dialogue at sea basin and sub-sea basin level.

The main objective of this MED-MSP-CoP is to establish a permanent exchange between MSP practitioners across borders (i.e. planners, technical experts, researchers), to share knowledge and relevant experiences in the region, reach a shared perspective on MSP topics of common interest and enhance the cooperation between the north and the south shore of the Mediterranean.

In its first year, 3 workshops and 4 thematic webinars have been organised – mostly online. Participants indicated the added value of this platform and plans are underway to continue with these meetings in the years ahead.

If you want learn more and/ or join this Community of Practice, all information can be be found on the MED-MSP-COP webpage

Euromarime 2024 poster with EU Sea Basin Assistance Mechanism text and stand number

EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism at EUROMARITIME 2024 in Marseille

Maritime industry leaders and enthusiasts gather in Marseille from 30 January to 1 February 2024, to discuss the latest developments in the maritime and river sectors at EUROMARITIME which has been both a showcase and a business accelerator since its creation in 2020.

The event serves as a vibrant forum for stakeholders to engage in discussions surrounding current issues, technical advancements, and political developments. EUROMARITIME provides a unique platform for economic, industrial, political, and institutional players to address the challenges and opportunities within maritime transport, shipbuilding, ship repair, port economics, and the future of maritime technologies with the end goal of developing a sustainable and low carbon Blue Economy.

It will also mark the launch of the first EurAfrican Maritime Forum (FoMEA), dedicated to promoting blue economy and maritime development in Africa and is therefore strongly linked to the activities of  the WestMED Initiative on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.

This event within an event, which will bring together African maritime players with projects, institutions, port authorities and shipping company managers, will take place on Thursday 1st February 2024.

Visit us for new maritime project ideas, collaborations, and initiatives

Fully aware of  the growing importance of sustainable practices within the maritime industry and following the previous attendance from the WestMED French National Hub in 2020 and 2022 editions, the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism – France (representing the WestMED Initiative and the Atlantic Action Plan)  will be  exhibitor at EUROMARITIME. With various maritime sectors transitioning towards sustainability, the European Commission has recognized the need for concerted efforts in fostering a safer, smarter, and more resilient blue economy.

Supporting and implementing strategic blue economy initiatives for the Atlantic, the Western Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism brings together maritime experts from all these sea basins. These experts offer practical support to SMEs, research institutions, policymakers, and academia, in the different steps to develop their blue sustainable projects, both in terms of accessing potential EU funding and finding project partners.

Workshop by the French national hub of the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism | 30  January (14:00-17:00)

On 30 January (afternoon), the French national hub of EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism will organise a national event at the EuroMaritime. This will take the form of a dedicated workshop highlighting their activities with a focus on 2 main topics:

  • French regions’ Blue actions ; in particular Region Sud and its cooperation with Southern Shore Mediterranean countries
  • The role of the two EU Sea Basin strategies (WestMED Initiative and Atlantic Action Plan) and building on their synergies, to facilitate new projects and cooperation

It will be also the opportunity to recall opportunities and discuss blue project ideas supporting the EU strategies for both seabasins.

Download the agenda

Key Activities of the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism:

  • Supporting project development: The mechanism actively supports blue projects by facilitating partner searches for consortiums and providing guidance on securing EU funding. This assistance aims to propel projects from conception to implementation. This comes to live through the implementation of the Sea Basins Initiatives, following the goals set in the two Ministerial Declarations from each Sea Basin that were approved in 2023 (further information can be found in the Atlantic Ministerial Declaration and WestMED Ministerial Declaration).
  • Driving Blue Thematic Stakeholder Discussions: To foster sustainable transitions, the Assistance Mechanism initiates and moderates discussions among stakeholders. These discussions contribute to the development of innovative solutions and best practices for a more sustainable and resilient blue economy.
  • Strengthening Blue Policies at All Levels: Working at the local, national, regional, and EU levels, the Assistance Mechanism advocates for robust blue policies that encourage synergies within and between Sea Basins, following the objectives of the Sea Basin Initiatives. By aligning policies with sustainability goals, the mechanism aims to create an enabling environment for the development of blue projects.

As EUROMARITIME unfolds in Marseille, the convergence of maritime industry leaders and the presence of the EU Blue Economy Assistance Mechanism promise to spark new ideas, collaborations, and initiatives that will shape the future of the maritime industries.

For those eager to explore the forefront of maritime innovation and sustainability, visit the official EUROMARITIME website

Meet the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism at the stand of Pole Mer Mediterranee (B06).

Follow us online for the latest information regarding planned exhibition activities:

X (Twitter): WestMED | Atlantic
LinkedIn: Atlantic
Newsletter: WestMED | Atlantic

You can also contact the Assitance Mechanism’s National Hub in France directly via |

front cover of financing opportunities guide for the green transition of fisheries and aquaculture 2023

Energy Transition Partnership & Financing Report

The new guide on financing opportunities for the Green Energy Transition of Fisheries and Aquaculture is out!

The guide is set to support the sectors through EU funding under the 2021-2027 financial framework and NextGenerationEU. The comprehensive guide aims to elucidate diverse funding options for the energy transition by targeting a broad audience, including enterprises, public administrations, research institutions, and civil society organisations. It distinguishes itself by offering a tailored approach, swiftly aiding stakeholders in identifying and assessing applicable EU funding sources. Covering areas like vessel innovation, energy-efficient gear, and aquaculture management, the guide complements existing European Commission tools and undergoes regular updates to incorporate newly identified funds.

All information can be found in the Energy Transition Partnership

Group of people at the Blue Mediterranean partnership agreement signing at COP28

Blue Mediterranean Partnership steps up support for sustainable blue economy

EIB, EBRD, UfM, EC, AFD, CDP, KfW, donors and beneficiary countries sign cooperation agreement at COP28

  • Blue Mediterranean Partnership to support transition to a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean region
  • Partnership to start operating in early 2024
  • Partners aim to mobilise at least €1 billion in investments

At COP28, partners and donors involved in the Blue Mediterranean Partnership reinforced their support for developing the sustainable blue economy in the southern Mediterranean region. The parties involved signed a letter of intent to make their participation in the Partnership official and to make the Partnership operational in early 2024.

The Blue Mediterranean Partnership aims to tackle the threats the Mediterranean Sea faces by coordinating the financing of blue economy projects in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions, focusing initially on Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Through a new multi-donor fund managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Blue Mediterranean Partnership seeks to secure additional funding from sovereign donors for project preparation and blended finance. Today in Dubai, the European Commission announced a contribution of €1 million, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) contributed SEK 75 million (€6.5 million), and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced a  €2 million contribution. In the coming months, Germany and Spain are also expected to announce donations, with additional donors to follow.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), AFD, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the EBRD – will act as implementing financial institutions and cooperate to co-finance blue economy projects, which will benefit from the grants provided by the Partnership, mobilising also existing financial resources provided by the European Commission through the Neighbourhood Investment Platform and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).

Lastly, the beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) will lead on identifying strategic blue economy projects in their territories, while the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will act as facilitator of the political and regulatory dialogue.

Read the full article on the website of the EIB