Maritime security strategy

Maritime security strategy

Maritime security strategy

Maritime security strategy

What is it?

We all depend on safe, secure and clean seas and oceans for prosperity and peace. It is through adequate maritime security that we can maintain the rule of law in areas beyond national jurisdiction and protect the EU strategic maritime interests which include

European Union Maritime Security Strategy; responding together to global challenges, a guide for stakeholders
  • overall security and peace
  • rule of law and freedom of navigation
  • external border control
  • maritime infrastructures: ports and harbours, coastal protection, commercial facilities, underwater pipes and cables, offshore platforms and scientific equipment
  • common natural resources and environmental health
  • climate change preparedness

The European Union maritime security strategy (EUMSS) for the global maritime domain is a joint EU plan to improve the way in which the EU pre-empts and responds to these challenges. It is an overarching maritime security strategy against all challenges from the global maritime domain that may affect people, activities or infrastructures in the EU.

The strategy is built upon closer collaboration within the EU, across the regional and national levels. It seeks to increase awareness and ensure higher efficiency of operations.

A second objective is to protect EU maritime interests worldwide. The EUMSS strengthens the link between internal and external security, and couples the overall European security strategy with the integrated maritime policy.

By working together more closely and planning ahead, the EU and its Member States can make better use of existing resources, and enter more effective and credible international partnerships.

Where are we now?

The EUMSS is complemented with an action plan designed to drive the implementation of the EUMSS forward. All maritime security stakeholders in the EU – across sectors and borders – are called upon to participate directly in a cooperative setting.

The action plan was adopted in 2014 and revised in 2018. The revision seeks to ensure that the policy response remains fit for current and future challenges, in line with political priorities in a rapidly changing security environment, and taking into consideration the ongoing work in the area of security and defence and recently adopted EU legislation, policies and other initiatives.

The revised action plan brings together both internal and external aspects of the Union’s maritime security. The actions foreseen in the action plan contribute to the implementation of the EU global strategy, the renewed EU internal security strategy 2015-2020, the Council conclusions on global maritime security, and the joint communication on international ocean governance. A the same time, it explores the full potential offered by the three separate but mutually reinforcing EU initiatives in the field of defence: the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), and the future European defence fund.

The new action plan has an horizontal part (A) clustered in 5 key areas, dedicated to crosscutting issues and a new regional part (B), where the EU seeks to address global challenges through regional responses to key maritime hotspots both at home – at European sea basins, like the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and internationally – the Gulf of Guinea, Horn of Africa-Red Sea or South-East Asia. (Read more)

If you are involved in maritime security at EU or national level, there are many opportunities for you to get involved. Please ask your relevant authority about local and sectorial priorities. You can also find professional information in the EU Maritime Forum.


What has been done?

Some success stories so far:

  • The Baltic Sea Maritime Incident Response project (BSMIR) analysed the level of preparedness of the eight Baltic Sea states plus Norway and Iceland vis-à-vis large-scale and multi-sectorial maritime accidents. This nine-month-long project resulted in a final report including suggestions for international cooperation.
  • The European Coast Guard Functions Academy Network (ECGFA NET) strengthens international collaboration on training. It set up a network of training institutions for coastguard functions, which led to a shared qualifications framework. Run by 12 EU coastguard agencies, it has so far managed to engage 37 training institutions.
  • The large amount of regional cooperation initiatives reported by EU agencies and Member States, such as FRONTEX operations in the Mediterranean, Baltic Sea regional border control cooperation (BSRBCC) and Black Sea security initiatives, including promising collaboration with third nations and international forums.

Official documents

More information

Maritime affairs