On 12 May, the 11 project partners gathered for the first time in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais (Dover Strait), to launch the activities of the project.

PASSAGE project is now officially launched; the next step will be a first working seminar in the Fehmarnbelt in September and the launch of a study to better understand the sources and implications of carbon emissions in maritime border regions.

In the afternoon, PASSAGE project partners have discovered a concrete initiative on the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer: the experimentation and adaptation of the fishing boat La Frégate in the framework of the Fish2EcoEnergy project lead by the association "France Pêche Durable et Responsable". The project enables a significant reduction of carbon emissions linked to fishery through new technologies for engines and adapted fishing nets. To end the day, project partners experienced the sustainable development approach implemented by Pas-de-Calais County Council in the "Grand Site des Deux Caps", with the objective of making Dover Strait (one of the most frequented straits of the world) an attractive and pleasant area to live.

The 11 project partners have signed the Partnership agreement engaging them for the next 4 years and answered the questions of journalists.

The morning continued with a contextualisation by the expert in geopolitics and founder of the LEPAC institute, Jean-Christophe Victor, who put forward the strategic role of European straits and the need to anticipate the main stakes linked to the transformation of the world economy and climate change. Kaarin Taipale, elected representative from Helsinki-Uusimaa regional Council insisted on the role of local public authorities in the implementation of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate and in achieving sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Philippe Vasseur, president of the Regional chamber of commerce and industry of Nord de France, gave a more local perspective through the Third Industrial Revolution developped in Nord - Pas-de-Calais with the theorician Jeremy Rifkin.

Michel Dagbert, President of Pas-de-Calais County Council, highlighted the importance of PASSAGE project, "a new step to find concrete solutions to issues that affect our strait territories", and thanked the partners for their engagement beside Pas-de-Calais County Council. Seven of the eleven partners of PASSAGE project are also members of the European Straits Initiative, which aims at developing exchange of experience and recognition of the specificities of straits in Europe.

At the invitation of Pas-de-Calais County Council, lead Partner of the project, this first meeting took place in Boulogne-sur-Mer. On the agenda: a morning of conference to contextualise the projet within major environemental issues and challenges confronting European straits and, more globally, maritime border regions.

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