The coastal regions in the EU and the UK

A coastal region is a statistical region of the European Union or the United Kingdom at NUTS level 3, defined according to one of the following three criteria:

  • The region has a sea border (382 regions correspond to this criterion)
  • The region has more than half of its population within 50 km from the sea (63 further regions correspond to this criterion that is based on the GEOSTAT 2006 population grid. Previous to the availability of this grid, all coastal regions were defined as a NUTS level 3 region with a sea border). 

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Czechia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia are landlocked countries and are not presented.

The coastal areas in the EU and the UK

A coastal area consists of those municipalities (around 12% of municipalities, typically LAU2) that border the sea or that have 50% of their surface within a distance of 10k from the sea.

Sea basins

A sea basin is a geographical entity made up of one sea or one ocean plus the coastal regions (land basins) or coastal Member States that border this sea or ocean.

The same delineation of basins is used for the Atlas of the Sea , produced by the Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE).

There are 6 sea basins bordering the EU:

  1. the Mediterranean Sea,
  2. the Black Sea,
  3. the Baltic Sea,
  4. the North Sea,
  5. the North-East Atlantic Ocean (including the Celtic Seas, Bay of Biscay) and
  6. the Outermost Regions.

Maritime sectors

Maritime sectors comprise activities linked to the sea.

The link between activities and the sea may be explained by the use of marine resources, maritime areas or by the vicinity of these areas.

The relationship between the activities and the sea can be more or less direct and maritime sectors cannot be seen as a single sector activity within the NACE classification but rather as a set of activities.