If confirmed by the Council and the European Parliament, the Directive will help Member States cooperate more closely over cross-border sea areas, enabling them to take full account of land-sea interactions when developing their Maritime Spatial Planning.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, and Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Maritime Spatial Planning can make an important contribution to harnessing multiple uses of space at sea and ensuring their environmental sustainability. We now look forward to the finalisation of the adoption process by the European Parliament and the Council so that we can start working with Member States to better manage our seas and make them safer, more sustainable, and a conductor for growth whilst reducing the pressures on the ecosystem."
Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other growth areas – has highlighted the need for more efficient management of such areas, to avoid potential conflict and create a stable environment attractive to investors. At the same time, this proposal will make it easier for Member States to coordinate such activities and better manage environmental pressures from sea-based activities.
Maritime Spatial Planning is a cornerstone of the Commission's Blue Growth strategy and of Integrated Maritime Policy. This agreement should boost this sustainable maritime growth, while also contributing to a more efficient implementation of EU environmental legislation in marine and coastal waters. It should also help establish coherent networks of Marine Protected Areas, for which cooperation on planning across borders is essential, and ensure the participation of all stakeholders in planning processes.