Maritime policy

The EU's integrated maritime policy seeks to maximise the sustainable use of the oceans and seas; enhance Europe's knowledge and innovation potential in maritime affairs; ensure development and sustainable growth in coastal regions; strengthen Europe's maritime leadership and raise the profile of maritime issues across Europe.

The blue economy includes well-established activities such as shipbuilding and fishing as well as emerging ones such as offshore renewable energy and marine biotechnology.  The EU's Blue Growth initiative aims at strengthening both.

Coastal/Non-coastal regional typology

Europe is surrounded by oceans and seas.

Maritime regions in the EU are defined as statistical NUTS 3 regions having a coastline or more than half of their population living less than 50 km from the sea.

Statistics on maritime regions aim to measure economic, social and environmental issues related to coastal regions, sea basins and the maritime economic sectors.


Island regions

Island regions are NUTS 3 regions that are entirely composed of one or more islands. In this context, islands are defined as territories having:

  • a minimum distance to the mainland of 1 km and
  • no fixed link (for example, a bridge, a tunnel, or a dyke) to the mainland

Outermost regions

Outermost regions as defined in Articles 349 and 355 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) enjoy  specific measures to support the development of these most remote regions of the European Union: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin (France), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and the Canary Islands (Spain). The purpose of this support is to compensate for the constraints arising from the geographical remoteness of these regions.