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"Sailing Towards 2020" conference: Brussels, 2 & 3 March 2015


Click to playOver 450 stakeholders, including FLAGs, Managing Authorities, fisheries organisations and NGOs, involved in the sustainable development of coastal and fisheries areas took part in DG MARE’s high level event in Brussels, “Sailing Towards 2020”. The event brought together delegates from 27 different countries, including political leaders from the local, regional and national level, as well as Members of the European Parliament and representatives from the European Council’s Presidency and the Commission.

Opened by Mr. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and organised with the assistance of the FARNET Support Unit, the conference offered an opportunity to witness first-hand the results of 42 local projects supported by Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and to explore the potential for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) to face new challenges in coastal and fisheries communities. 

Implemented by 312 Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), Axis 4, during the 2007-2014 period, supported over 10 000 projects at the local level, applying a bottom-up, local development approach in fisheries and coastal areas across 21 Member States. In the 2014-2020 period, CLLD will be supported by the EMFF, as well as by other European Structural and Investment Funds such as the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the Regional Development Fund or the Social Fund.

Through a dynamic project exhibition and a series of thematic working group sessions, the "Sailing Towards 2020" conference studied the achievements and lessons drawn from Axis 4 in order to inform the development of CLLD in Europe's coastal areas. In particular, it considered new opportunities for FLAGs to work in partnership with other actors in order to seize the challenges and opportunities presented by the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, blue growth, climate change and the urgency of fostering job creation and social inclusion in coastal and fisheries areas. 

In preparation of the conference, a series of background papers have been developed on those 5 themes. These have been adapted to the discussions and outcomes of the 5 related mini plenaries held on the second day of this event and are available below.


“Sailing towards 2020"

A conference on the results of Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund and the future of Community-Led Local Development in coastal communities

  • Conference brochure        
  • Conference report     
  • Conference video      
  • List of participants    


Background papers on challenges and opportunities in fisheries and coastal areas

CFP reform 

Blue growth 

Climate change and energy transition 

Job creation and social inclusion 

CLLD and multi funding 

Monday 2nd March: Lessons learnt from the implementation of Axis 4 of the EFF for sustainable development in coastal communities
  • Introduction video: Axis 4, seven years of innovation




  • Sustainable development in coastal communities across the European Union: building on lessons learnt

- Mr Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries 

- Ms Renata Briano, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Fisheries, European Parliament 

- Mr Normunds Riekstins, Director General of Fisheries, Latvian Presidency of the Council 

- Ms Eleni Marianou, Secretary General, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions


  • Introduction to Axis 4 projects: video testimonies of projects from fisheries communities

Two videos present different projects from Finland and Spain and show the diversity and  opportunities of Axis 4. 

                         Kalatalo fish handling centre, Finland       Fishmeal from fish waste, Spain


                                              download                                                             download









  •  Interactive project exhibtion and thematic discussion tables

Exhibition projects: 42 Axis 4 projects 

The awards for the best economic, social and environmental projects:

FARNET movie box: 8 FLAG-made videos

Thematic table discussions: FLAG proposals for cooperation

Poster area corner:


Tuesday 3rd March: Broadening the scope: new challenges for the future, new strategies and new partnerships for coastal areas

Broadening the scope of CLLD

  • Territorial impacts of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy 
  • Blue growth and coastal development 
  • Climate change and energy transition 
  • Job creation and tackling poverty 
  • Possibilities of multi-fund local development 



Report back from mini plenaries  and panel discussion of selected stakeholders: 

- Ms Joy Collins, Hastings FLAG, United Kingdom

- Mr Pierre Hébert, Head of Bureau, Structural Policy, Directorate for Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture, France

- Mr Nicolas Fernandez Muñoz, Secretary of the Cofradía of Conil (fishermen’s association), Cádiz-Estrecho FLAG, Spain

- Ms Elisa Roller, Head of Unit, Structural Policy and Economic Analysis,  (DG MARE)

- Mr Giuseppe Scordella, Adriatico Salentino FLAG, Italy


The awards for best FLAG-made videos:

Gold: “O cabaz do mar” (Além Tejo FLAG, Portugal)

Silver: “Supporting Fishermen 2.0” (Terre di Mare FLAG, Italy)

Bronze: “Pesca” (Arcachon FLAG, France)

Video conclusions by Ms Lowri Evans, Director General, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)