The NSC President, Kerstin Brunnström, attended the Periscope Forum as a keynote speaker hosted by South Norway European Office on 5 November in Brussels. Among the keynote speeches, the European Commission’s DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries discussed their work in the future development of the Blue Growth sector in Europe.

The main focus for the Periscope Forum was to discuss global leadership in the blue economy with a special focus on the North Sea area and EU programs for 2030. Kerstin Brunnström highlighted the North Sea Commission’s development of the new NSR 2030 Strategy acting like a steering document but also aiming to inspire partners around the North Sea. Most North Sea Regions today count as innovation leaders or strong innovators in the European scoreboard and the NSR is a global front-runner in blue growth innovation, where seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth.

A European “Blue Deal”

Kerstin Brunnström welcomed the incoming European Commission’s strong emphasis on climate action in a “Green Deal” and took the opportunity to raise the idea of a European “Blue Deal”, which could direct more EU investment to the blue economy, where the North Sea Region could be a pilot to test this idea. Some examples which were raised to exemplify the meaning of a “Blue Deal” were the development of a forum in the North Sea Commission for the member regions to share practice in the field of smart specialisation strategies and the idea of a ‘marine knowledge and innovation community’, a so-called marine KIC, within the European Institute of Technology (EIT).