"Una manera de hacer Europa"
The IncubAzul High Technology Incubator is a project that exists thanks to the support of the European Union, which provides 80% of its budget through the ERDF, by way of the Multiregional Operational Programme 2014-2020 under Main Priority 3: Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs; Thematic Objective 3: Improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises; and Investment Priority 3.a. Promoting entrepreneurship, in particular by facilitating the economic exploitation of new ideas and fostering the creation of new firms, including through business incubators.
The cohesion policy is the European Union’s main investment policy. It benefits all regions and cities of the Union and promotes economic growth, job creation, business competitiveness, sustainable development and environmental protection.
The European Union (official website of the European Union ), supports the achievement of these objectives through the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (the ESF, the ERDF, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)) and, from 2021, the Just Transition Fund (JTF). These funds are distributed among all EU countries on the basis of criteria and objectives set out in the different Multiannual Financial Frameworks. Since Spain joined the EU in 1986, the Directorate General for European Funds has been the authority responsible for Spain’s budgetary relations with the EU and for the management of European funds. On their website European fund management information is provided on all the European funds managed in Spain, through the different administrations, as well as information related to the different periods (multiannual frameworks), main novelties and Spain’s communication obligations before the EU in terms of European funds.
A commitment to the Blue Economy
The European Union offers solid, long-term support for the Blue Economy, through its cohesion policy. It recognises the great potential of the seas and oceans as drivers of innovation and growth, and promotes actions that contribute to turning oceans into sustainable environments for economic and social development.
The subsectors that comprise the Blue Economy all have the seas and oceans as their principal focus. They include subsectors as diverse as biotechnology, regenerative tourism, maritime and port transport, and renewable energies, Furthermore, those working in the Blue Economy provide data and analysis, offer solutions to marine plastic pollution, and explore the ocean's potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere and increase resilience to the effects of climate change.
For several years, the European Union has been preparing annual reports in which it calculates the contribution of the Blue Economy to our society. The year-on-year comparisons demonstrate that it is a sector that is experiencing ongoing steady growth.
The report uses data from 2018 to reveal that the Blue Economy invoices around EUR 750 billion per year in the EU with a gross added value of EUR 218 billion, and that some 5.4 millon people work work in sectors directly linked to the seas.
In Spain, the Blue Economy provides employment for 945,000 people contributing a gross added value of EUR 32.7 billion per year. The European Commission estimates that this equates to 5% of total employment and 3% of gross added value in Spain, well above the figures for equivalent European countries such as France (1.4% of employment and 1% of gross added value), Italy (2.3% and 1.5%) or the United Kingdom (3.2% and 1%).
Overall, on a global level, the Blue Economy, or sustainable marine economy - generates USD 2.5 trillion annually. In terms of GDP, the Blue Economy would be equivalent to the seventh-largest economy on the planet, smaller only than the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France or the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it has been shown that investment in Blue Economy projects generates an economic benefit that is fivefold that of the associated costs.
A key sector in the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe
The European Union's firm commitment to the Blue Economy is further consolidated by its recognition that the sector is fundamental for both the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe; plans which will define the European economy for many years, or even decades.
According to the European Commission's website, "Not only should the Blue Economy adhere, like every other sector, to the European Green Deal. It is also indispensable to meet the EU's environmental and climate objectives. After all, the ocean is the main climate regulator we have. It offers clean energy and sustains us with oxygen, food and many critical resources. There just can't be green without blue."
"To fully embed the Blue Economy into the Green Deal and the recovery strategy, the Commission has adopted a new approach for a sustainable Blue Economy in the EU.” It frames its objectives by stating that “the detailed agenda for the Blue Economy should help achieve the European Green Deal’s objectives, and complement other recent Commission initiatives on biodiversity, food, mobility, security, data and more."
On its website, the European Commission states that the "Blue Economy contributes to climate change mitigation by developing offshore renewable energy, decarbonising maritime transport and greening ports. It will make the economy more circular by renewing the standards for fishing gear design, for ship recycling and for the decommissioning of offshore platforms. Furthermore, the development of green infrastructure in coastal areas will help preserve biodiversity and landscapes, while benefiting tourism and the coastal economy."
It adds that "the new approach provides coherence across the Blue Economy sectors, facilitates their coexistence and looks for synergies in the maritime space, without damaging the environment. It also underlines the need for investment in research, skills and innovation.