The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), on Wednesday launched a largest ever consultation in a bid to define a new vision for an integrated maritime policy.
The main question asked by a Green Paper, entitled as "Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas, is: can Europe afford to manage its seas and oceans in a sectoral, unconnected way?
"Europe has long benefited from its maritime activities. Today's Green Paper gives us all the opportunity to put our heads together to see how best to do it," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who initiated the process.
"I encourage everyone to have their say on how they see a future maritime policy for the Union which would boost jobs while protecting the marine environment," he added in a statement.
The consultation process will last until the end of June next year.