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. A project concept pdf - 699 KB [699 KB] All available translations. was produced and is currently under discussion with the coastal countries and regional organisations.

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 (i.e. 2x calls for proposals) are already published.

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


  • 23/06/2016 - North Sea stakeholders discuss way forward for regional blue growth

    About 60 stakeholders from the North Sea region met on 20 and 21 June in The Hague, Netherlands for a workshop on strategic cooperation on blue growth in the North Sea area, organised by the European Commission.

  • 06/06/2016 - 40th Annual Session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean: the start of "a new era in fish stock recovery"

    The 40th annual session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) drew to a successful close on 3 June. Decisions taken in Malta are in line with the European Commission's strategy to improve the state of the Mediterranean fish stocks and the economic prospects of the fishing industry. Commissioner Karmenu Vella expressed his deep satisfaction with the outcome, which "ushers in a new era of action to help fish stocks recover and fishing communities thrive."

  • 29/04/2016 - A summit for the Mediterranean

    Commissioner Karmenu Vella was invited to deliver a speech at the “Mediterranean Leadership Summit” organized by the Economist in Malta on 28 and 29 April 2016. The conference comes at a time when the countries of the Mediterranean Sea are called upon to share their vision for stability, growth and competitiveness in the region.