EU to spend 3.5 bln euros to protect the ocean, environment chief says

European Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius speaks during the 9th Our Ocean Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, in Athens, Tuesday. [Reuters]

The European Union will spend 3.5 billion euros ($3.71 billion) to protect the ocean and promote sustainability through a series of initiatives this year, the EU's top environment official said on Tuesday.

The 40 commitments range from fighting marine pollution to supporting sustainable fisheries and investments in the so-called blue economy - sustainable use of marine and freshwater resources for economic activity.

The commitments were announced during the annual "Our Ocean" conference held in Athens this week and attended by about 120 countries.

"The ocean is part of who we are, and it is our shared responsibility," said EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius.

The commitments include supporting 14 investments and one reform in sustainable fisheries in Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Portugal worth about 1.9 billion euros,...

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