Maritime policy

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In early 2005 The European Commission took the initiative for a European Maritime Policy: An integrated policy concerning the maritime transport, industry, coastal regions, offshore energy, fisheries, the marine environment and other relevant areas. Until now the policies for these areas were developed separately. This fragmented approach can result in the adoption of conflicting measures and makes it difficult to comprehend the potential impact of one set of activities upon another. Subsequently, a future maritime policy should be integrated, intersectoral and multidisciplinary, and not a collection of sectoral policies.

Green Paper on a future maritime policy for the European Union

EU Maritime Affairs Globe Logo

In June 2006 the green paper “Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas[1] was presented by the European Commission. This Green Paper resulted from stakeholder consultations. In the Green Paper, the European Commission tries to balance the economic growth, social aspects and sustainable use of the seas. The document describes the following aspects of maritime policy and management in Europe:

  • Retention of Europe’s leadership in sustainable maritime development
  • Maximising the quality of life in Coastal Regions
  • Tools for coastal zone management
  • Maritime governance
  • Reclamation of Europe’s maritime heritage and reaffirmation of Europe’s maritime identity

The Green Paper is accompanied by a number of background documents which have been produced by European Commission Working Groups and by the Maritime Policy Task Force which oversaw the drafting of the Green Paper, and was aimed at 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.

In the Green Paper ideas for improvement of the European approach to Maritime issues are brought up. According to the commission the approach should lean on two essential pillars:

  1. The Lisbon Strategy, stimulating growth and create more and better jobs within the Union. Continued investments in knowledge and skills are key factors for maintaining competitiveness and ensuring quality jobs.
  2. A European Marine Strategy based on an ecosystem approach.

The Green Paper is meant as a consultation document. It should be used as a point of departure for a public consultation process, which will take place between June 2006 and June 2007.

EU Maritime Affairs Sectoral Policies

Many different policy areas covered by the European Commission are linked to the sea. Some of these areas are: Fisheries, Environment, Transport and Energy, Research, Enterprise and Industry, Regional Policy, Competition, Freedom, Security and Justice, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal opportunities, External Relations, Health and consumer protection.


External links


  1. Green Paper:Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas. SEC(2006) 689, Brussels, 7-6-2006

The main author of this article is van Buuren, Jannette
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: van Buuren, Jannette (2007): Maritime policy. Available from [accessed on 22-10-2017]

The main author of this article is Magdalena Muir
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Magdalena Muir (2007): Maritime policy. Available from [accessed on 22-10-2017]