Jean-Yves Le Drian has been President of Brittany Region since 2004. He represents the French regions in the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) and is also responsible for coordinating the Conference’s policy positions on maritime issues. Born in Lorient, he was elected Mayor of the city in 1981. He has served in the French government, holding the position of Junior Minister for Maritime Affairs under the Minister for Infrastructure, Housing and Transport. He is a member of the French parliament, where he specialises in finance and maritime policy.
Mr Le Drian, what sort of maritime policy are you expecting from Europe?
“I’m optimistic. For the first time there is a very real determination in Europe to achieve a coherent and comprehensive procedure for formulating an integrated maritime policy in Europe before the end of 2009. In other words Europe is in the process of adopting its maritime policy! Of course, we are still in the early stages, but the will is there, as John Richardson, Director of the Maritime Affairs Task Force at the European Commission, confirmed during our General Assembly in Murcia. Coastal zone management, the sea motorways, coastal tourism, the consequences of climate change, as well as research and fisheries are all issues that will be included in this new policy, which – I repeat – will be a global one! It will be a coherent and ambitious set of policies, to which the CPMR and Brittany region will be able to make their contribution.
Why is the role of the maritime regions today so important?
“Today the regions play a very small role in maritime affairs. They are not recognised as stakeholders in a real integrated maritime policy. However, the reality of the situation is clearly that the maritime dimension – in terms of economic potential, environmental constraints, and research and training needs – is an issue for the regional authorities. And what the CPMR regions are saying is, now that Europe wants to adopt a common maritime policy, we must be given our rightful place and exercise our full responsibilities in it. That’s our objective over the months ahead.”
Mr Le Drian was interviewed by