The European Maritime Day, celebrated annually on May 20, has as main objective to highlight the fundamental role that oceans and seas play in the lives of coastal communities and all citizens of the European Union, as well as in the field of sustainable growth and employment in Europe.
This annual celebration was officially launched on May 20, 2008, in Strasbourg, where the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, President of the European Council, Janez Janša and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso signed a tripartite joint declaration, establishing it.
The Council of the European Union announced the cities that will host future celebrations of the European Maritime Day, an event that was held this year in Valletta (Malta) and next year will take place in Bremen (Germany). The following cities will host the event Piraeus (Greece) in 2015, Turku (Finland) in 2016, Poole (UK) in 2017, Burgas (Bulgaria) in 2018, and finally a proposal by the Government of Portugal, through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Sea, Lisbon has been chosen to host the European Maritime Day, in 2019.
The celebration in Lisbon reinforces the strategic importance of this resource for Portugal, while deciding factor for the momentum of the Portuguese economy and deepen the commitment to encourage better management of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and stakeholders concerned. The 20th of May is a day with special symbolic importance for Portugal, as it represents the day when Vasco da Gama reached India.