Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner with responsibility for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, has been announced as the Patron of the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe, which will bring international top-flight, competitive ocean racing to Europe starting on the 29th May.
The Ocean Race Europe will engage with European citizens to enhance the ambitious green transition and showcase the power of the EU’s Green and Digital Transformation, the declaration signed by EU Member states to accelerate the use of green digital technologies for the benefit of the environment.
Chairman of The Ocean Race, Richard Brisius, officially welcomed the Commissioner to The Ocean Race family in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Klaipeda, on the Baltic Sea coast, is host to the start of the Prologue event for The Ocean Race Europe.
The city is also hosting its first-ever European Green Course conference, where leading ocean advocates from the region, including the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Ingrida Šimonytė, will discuss the significance of a pan-European sustainability policy.
“The success of the European Green Deal depends not only on political decisions, but also on public support and an understanding of why it is important and how it will benefit each of us. The growing involvement of sports communities around the world in discussions on the environment, climate change and sustainability is crucial. In this spirit, I am delighted to be Patron of The Ocean Europe Race and join with the sports community to take forward these initiatives and encourage greater public involvement, in what is a common concern for us all,” comments Sinkevičius.
"Sustainability is integrated into The Ocean Race's DNA, and we feel obliged to use the moment of focus and impact we create as a catalyst for further work for a more sustainable ocean. As sailors, we instinctively know that protecting and restoring a resource as central to life as the ocean is essential to our collective future,” adds Richard Brisius, Chairman of The Ocean Race. “We very much welcome the Commissioner to our Ocean Race family and with our sailors, teams, cities and stakeholders, we will continue our collective efforts to promote a healthy and abundant ocean.
In a symbolic gesture, the Commissioner handed European flags to all the competing boats. “The Ocean Race Europe has been inspired by and will demonstrate, the values and spirit of European cooperation and identity,” explains Brisius. “The event passes through several member countries and will, in itself, be a showcase of open borders, the European Green Deal and the power of digital transformation, as well as the European mindset of working positively and proactively across national borders to address common challenges.”
The Prologue event will leave Klaipeda on Saturday 8th May to race to Gdynia in Poland, before heading to Stockholm, Sweden. The teams will then make their way to Lorient in France for the start of The Ocean Race Europe on the 29th May. The race will have stops in Cascais, Portugal and Alicante, Spain before finishing in Genoa, Italy on 20th June 2021.