European seas are protected by regional sea conventions, including:
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment in the North-East Atlantic of 1992 (further to earlier versions of 1972 and 1974) – the OSPAR Convention (OSPAR),
Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment in the Baltic Sea Area of 1992 (further to the earlier version of 1974) – the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM),
Convention for the Protection of Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean of 1995 (further to the earlier version of 1976) – the Barcelona Convention (UNEP-MAP),
Convention for the Protection of the Black Sea of 1992 – the Bucharest Convention.
The European Community is a party to the first three of these. For the Black Sea region, one priority of the European Commission is that the Bucharest Convention is amended to allow the European Community to accede (see Communication on Black Sea Synergy, COM(2007) 160 final).
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC requires that, in developing their marine strategies, Member States use, where practical and appropriate, existing regional cooperation structures, including those under the above regional sea conventions to co-ordinate among themselves and to make every effort to coordinate their actions with those of third countries in the same region or subregion.