EU Ocean

European Commission Maritime Affairs - An Ocean of Opportunity

Europe is surrounded by seas and oceans; they are its past, present and future. Visit this site for updates, news and policy changes throughout the European Union.

An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union

This "Blue Book" is the result of over a year of consulting with stakeholders, identifying gaps between sea-related sectoral policy areas and attempting to adopt best practice and learn from obstacles and challenges. The mandate has been to examine all economic activities of Europeans which are linked to or impact on the oceans and seas, as well as all the policies dealing with them, with a view to finding the best way to extract more benefit from the oceans in a sustainable manner.

Maritime Policy Actions

Action Plan

The Integrated European Maritime Policy aims to provide a coherent framework, which exploits synergies between different policy areas of the sea and resolves potential conflicts. In its Action Plan, the European Commission enumerates a set of actions to be taken as a first step towards the implementation of the new policy.

Maritime Clusters

A cluster can be broadly defined as a group of firms, related economic actors and institutions that are located near each other and have reached a sufficient scale to develop specialised expertise, services, resources, suppliers and skills.

In a number of countries and regions, maritime clusters, encompassing a wide range of sea-related economic activities have been developed in order to foster synergies between their activities and boost the development of the European maritime economy.

Maritime Spatial Planning

Increased activity on Europe's seas is resulting in heightened competition between different sectoral interests, such as shipping and maritime transport, offshore energy, port development, fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental concerns. This, in turn, is putting mounting pressure on already limited marine space. A more collaborative and integrated approach to decision-making is required to secure the sustainable development of marine areas in a healthy environment.

Maritime spatial planning is designed to promote rational use of the sea and improve decision-making. It seeks to balance sectoral interests and thereby achieve sustainable use of marine resources. In sporting terms, if the competing human activities concerned are the players, maritime spatial planning is the referee in charge of overseeing fair play in a well-managed arena (the marine environment).

The EU and the Arctic Region  

EU policies in areas such as environment, climate change, energy, research, transport and fisheries have a direct bearing on the Arctic. It is a fundamental premise of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy that each sea-region is unique and needs individual attention in balancing its uses in a sustainable manner.  

Environmental changes are altering the geo-strategic dynamics of the Arctic with potential consequences for international stability and European security interests calling for the development of an EU Arctic policy.