The Maritime Security strategy and its action plan is a response to the new threats which continue to emerge in the ever changing global security environment. The criminal smuggling of people, arms, or drugs is now more organised and more international than ever. Illegal fishing continues to be a plight on our oceans whilst terrorism and cyber-attacks are threats we cannot ignore. These trends jeopardize European and global maritime interests, as well as the prosperity and security of citizens at home and abroad.
The action plan, jointly implemented at European and national level, is made up of five key strands of work:
1) Intensifying EU external action – a better use of the tools at the EU's disposal, including strengthened political dialogue and development aid
2) Shared maritime awareness and surveillance – focus on developing a common information sharing environment.
3) Capability development reinforced - for instance by promoting dual-use technologies.
4) Working towards a common risk analysis - risk management, protection of critical maritime infrastructure and crisis response will be bolstered
5) Strengthening maritime security research and training
The Action Plan covers both the internal and external aspects of the Union's maritime security. Its guiding principles are a cross-sectorial approach; rules-based governance of the global maritime domain; respect for existing instruments and competences, as well as maritime multilateralism. The implementation of the 130 specific actions foreseen in the Action Plan will be carried out by EU institutions and by EU Member States. From the external action perspective, this comprises measures such as engaging with third parties on maritime security matters, further promoting the existing international legal framework, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to maritime capacity building in third countries, as the Critical Maritime Routes Programme already does, to build on lessons learned as the Contact Group on Piracy off the Shore of Somalia, and to conduct operational activities including missions such as the counter-piracy operation ATALANTA.