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 06 mar 2018 14:36 

Commission and 9 countries renew efforts to protect Baltic Sea

Today, Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Ministers of Environment from 9 Baltic countries are meeting in Brussels in the framework of the Helsinki Convention on Baltic Marine Environment Protection (HELCOM).

They are expected to agree a Ministerial Declaration with HELCOM joint commitments to protect the Baltic Sea until 2030. Commissioner Vella said: “HELCOM is a true example of successful regional ocean governance. The Baltic Sea Region is leading the way with marine protected areas now covering more than 12% of the Sea. It has been designated as Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions Control Area. But we need to step up efforts to address other challenges such as eutrophication, marine litter and underwater noise. A Declaration under EU Presidency by the HELCOM Ministers confirms the commitment by its members to work together to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea."

The recent HELCOM report on the State of the Baltic Sea shows that the sea is still heavily affected by eutrophication and more action is needed to reach the environmental goals set in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Reduction of eutrophication could result in annual economic benefits of € 4 billion. In light of these, Ministers are to commit to step up their efforts towards the goals of the Baltic Sea Action plan and to update it by 2021, in order to address emerging issues such as marine litter and climate change. The 9 Baltic countries concerned are Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Russia.

The EU, as a contracting party, chairs HELCOM until June 2018. More information, including the Ministerial Declaration will be made available here.

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