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Marine Spatial Planning Within the EU

The EU has no comprehensive legislation on marine spatial planning. Instead, the Member States themselves are responsible for the planning of their own marine and coastal areas. However, marine spatial planning has been identified as an important tool for implementing the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy adopted in 2007.

As part of the Policy's implementation, the EU Commission created a roadmap for marine spatial planning. The roadmap outlines guiding principles for Member States to take into account when they introduce marine spatial plans into their countries' affected areas. The EU Council of Ministers also adopted a recommendation on integrated coastal zone management in 2002 which includes cohesive spatial planning along border areas between land and sea.

After a debate on how Europe should proceed with marine spatial planning, the Commission in 2010 voiced the need for a common EU approach which could either be implemented as part of new EU legislation or through non-binding actions for Member States (e.g. through projects, studies, or recommendations).

EU Funding for Research and Pilot Projects

To support the development of marine spatial planning, the EU is joint-financing research and pilot projects within the Baltic Sea and Northeast Atlantic. This includes marine planning components in a number of INTERREG projects that affect the Kattegat, Skagerrak, and the Gulf of Bothnia and are supported by financing from the European Regional Development Fund. The same applies to certain projects funded through the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7).

In 2011, a regulation concerning a particular EU program for the implementation of activities within the Integrated Maritime Policy was carried out. Marine spatial planning is designated as a prioritized area within the program. The program's budget includes 50 million euros for the period 2011-2013. The EU Commission is to annually establish a work plan for implementing the program.

MSP-Related Projects Initiated and Financed by the EU

MSP-Related Projects Initiated and Financed by the EU
Gulf of Bothnia Plan Bothnia
Kattegat and Skagerrak Hav möter land (PDF fact sheet in English)
Baltic Sea BaltSeaPlan
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Published: 2014-02-11

Contact Page Editor Katherine Singer