Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Madam President, I represent Scotland, one of Europe's primary maritime nations. The EU has some 68 000 km of coastline; Scotland has some 11 000 km of that. So, in terms of maritime interests, Scotland is at the heart of Europe. We have much to gain and much to contribute to a maritime strategy and policy. We have waters rich in minerals, energy and biological resources and we are ideally located as a maritime hub for Europe and the wider world. Maritime nations will have their own priorities in terms of strategy and policy for the resource which is their sea. Any EU policy should assist maritime nations in achieving their objectives such as by funding research, by facilitating development of new routes for transporting goods and passengers, supporting energy interconnectors, improving safety on vessels and energy efficiency. Can I quote from Article 34 of the Piecyk report, which says 'the integrated maritime policy for the European Union should be developed in such a way as to avoid failings in the CFP such as over-centralisation'? In other words: add value and not use as an excuse to take over national competence.

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