Within the EU

Find on the page

Marine spatial planning is an important tool in implementing the EU's integrated maritime policy. MSP contributes to blue growth an even supports the efforts in reach good environmental status in the EU's marine areas.

Pan Baltic Scope

Pan Baltic Scope developed common tools and approaches for the Baltic Sea Region. Here 12 planning authorities and organisations cooperated concretely across borders in 2018 and 2019.

EU Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning

All member states are responsible for developing their own marine spatial plans. The EU Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning provides a common framework for everyone.

The Directive is to be incorporated into all member states’ national legislation by 2016. The deadline for developing marine spatial plans is 31 March 2021.

The Directive also specifies that the planning of common sea areas is to be a coordinated effort across borders.

Marine spatial planning, as outlined by the Directive, should support sustainable development and growth within maritime sectors while also applying the ecosystem approach.

The Directive requires member states to take into account the interplay between land and sea while planning, for example in coastal zones.

MSP Contributes to Good Environmental Status

Each country's marine spatial planning is also necessary for the EU's goal in reaching good environmental status in marine waters. This is yet another reason why marine planning requires coordination and cooperation between countries, agencies, and organizations.

EU Funding Encourages MSP Development

To support the development of marine spatial planning, the EU co-finances research and projects. Included are projects funded by EMFF, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and INTERREG projects with MSP components financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

The same applies to certain projects funded through Horizon 2020, the EU's funding program for research and innovation.


MSP-Related Projects Initiated and Co-Financed by the EU

Baltic Sea

Pan Baltic Scope


Baltic SCOPE






Gulf of Bothnia

Plan Bothnia


Kattegat and Skagerrak

Hav möter land (PDF fact sheet in English)

Pan Baltic Scope

North Sea






Published: 2014-02-11
Updated: 2020-06-08