The Blue Book

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An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union -The Blue Book

The European Commission launched a comprehensive consultation and analysis of how Europe relates to the sea.

Building in this valuable input the Commission presented, on 10 October 2007, its vision for an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, also called the Blue Book. This vision is based on the clear recognition that all matters relating to Europe's oceans and seas are interlinked, and that sea-related policies must develop in a joined-up way if are to reap the desired results [1]

The Blue Book lays the foundation for the governance framework and cross-sectoral tools necessary for an EU Integrated Maritime Policy and sets out the main actions that the Commission will pursue during the course of this mandate. These actions will be guided by the principles of subsidiarity and competitiveness, the ecosystem approach, and stakeholder participation.

A Governance Framework

An Integrated Maritime Policy requires a governance framework that applies the integrated approach at every level

Related actions by the Commission:

  • invite Member States to draw up national integrated maritime policies, working closely with stakeholders, in particular the coastal regions;
  • propose in 2008 a set of guidelines for these national integrated maritime policies and report annually on EU and Member States' actions in this regard from 2009;
  • organise a stakeholder consultation structure, feeding into further development of the maritime policy and allowing exchange of best practices

Cross-sectoral tools

An integrated governance framework for maritime affairs requires horizontal planning tools that cut across sea-related sectoral policies and support joined up policy making. The most relevant tools are the following:

A European network for maritime surveillance -for the safe and secure use of marine space

Related actions by the Commission:

  • promote improved cooperation between Member States' Coastguards and appropriate agencies
  • take steps towards a more interoperable surveillance system to bring together existing monitoring and tracking systems used for maritime safety and security, protection of the marine environment, fisheries control, control of external borders and other law enforcement activities

Maritime Spatial Planning and ICZM -for sustainable decision-making

Related actions by the Commission:

  • develop a roadmap in 2008 to facilitate the development of maritime spatial planning by Member States

A comprehensive and accessble source of Data and Information -for informed decision-making

Related actions by the Commission:

  • take steps in 2008 towards a European Marine Observation and Data Network (building inter alia on the GMES initiative)
  • promote the multi-dimensional mapping of Member States' waters, in order to improve access to high quality data

Action Areas

An EU Integrated Maritime Policy will focus its actions primarily in the following five areas:

Maximising the Sustainable Use of the Oceans and Seas

Related actions proposed by the Commission aim at

  • improving the efficiency of maritime transport in Europe and ensuring its long term competitiveness
  • developing the capacity of European seaports in a way that is compatible with EU policy environmental and competitiveness goals
  • enhancing business integration and competitiveness in the maritime sector
  • promoting the design of a system providing Europeans with better and wider career prospects in the maritime cluster

Building a knowledge and innovation base for the maritime policy

Delivering the Highest Quality of Life in Coastal Regions

Promoting Europe's Leadership in International Maritime Affairs

Raising the Visibility of Maritime Europe

External links

Report on the Consultation process -COM(2007)547


  1. COM(2007)575 final, Brussels, 10.10.2007