Sea basin strategy: Black Sea
Black Sea

The Black Sea is bordered by 6 countries - including EU members Bulgaria and Romania. To achieve coherence and better coordination among key sectors of their blue economies, the European Commission seeks dialogue with the stakeholder community (public and private), builds up stakeholders' capacities and supports cooperation actions on marine and maritime issues.

Building on the success of the first dialogue on integrated maritime policy with Bulgarian and Romanian stakeholders in 2011 and the high-level Black Sea Stakeholder conference held in Bucharest (Romania) in 2014, the European Commission has teamed up with maritime practitioners and entrepreneurs of the Black Sea to discuss how they can achieve their maximum potential, and generate sustainable economic and social benefits in the coastal areas. To this effect, the Second Black Sea Stakeholder conference took place in Sofia in March 2015.

Meanwhile, a scoping mission (feasibility study) is carried out to assess the state of maritime affairs in the coastal countries and suggest draft architecture of a cooperation project in the sea basin to raise awareness about integrated maritime policy and build up capacities of public actors. The mission will deliver its results in the first half of 2015.

The European Commission also supports the effort of over ten research institutes and public stakeholders from all Black Sea countries to pull the data they have collected in the recent years and create a single digital map of Black Sea seabed, including geology, habitats and marine life. A first version of the map is expected in 2016.

Studies were commissioned to identify areas for enhanced cooperation at sea basis level and to explore the potential for maritime clusters. The results are published and can be found on the Maritime forum webpage (see below). Follow-up actions (e.g. calls for proposals) to follow.

Regional cooperation

The Black Sea Synergy launched by the EU is an initiative for regional cooperation with and between the countries surrounding the Black Sea. It was designed as a flexible framework to ensure greater coherence and policy guidance while also inviting a more integrated approach.  In 2015 together with the European External Action Service, the European Commission issued a Joint Staff Working Document pdf - 531 KB [531 KB] All available translations. on the Implementation of the Black Sea Synergy during the period 2009 to 2014. It offers a snapshot progress in the main fields of cooperation in the Black Sea region with IMP being one of them.
The EU also enjoys observer status in two regional organisations:

Funding for Black Sea projects

Marine and maritime-related EU-funded projects can be found across various policy areas and are financed by various EU funds. Especially the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) provide financial support for actions in this region.

The latter finances the Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2007-13, which aims to contribute to a stronger and sustainable economic and social development of the region.

The programme's three specific objectives are:

  • Promoting economic and social development in the border areas
  • Working together to address common challenges
  • Promoting local, people-to-people cooperation

Under the EU Horizon 2020 a targeted call for the Black Sea region amounting to EUR 1.5 million was launched in 2014. Among the applications, a project aiming to create a (self-sustained) network of research institutes, academia, think tanks and implementation agencies of the region was awarded. Black Sea Horizon will pool resources of all littoral states (and beyond) for projects of common interest in the field of science, technology and innovation. It will be implemented in the next 36 months

Blue Growth infographic

More info

Commission communications

Parliament resolutions

Maritime Forum (the maritime inventory)

European Atlas of the Seas

Maritime affairs