Mediterranean Sea basin

Mediterranean Sea basin

Mediterranean Sea basin

Mediterranean Sea

Though the Mediterranean Sea is bounded by over 20 countries, much of it lies outside national jurisdictions. Cooperation is therefore essential to

  • manage maritime activities,
  • protect the marine environment & maritime heritage
  • prevent & combat pollution
  • improve safety & security at sea
  • promote blue growth & job creation.

In the Mediterranean region, the integrated maritime policy is designed to improve cooperation and governance while also encouraging sustainable growth. It encompasses the following:

  • The Working Groups for Integrated Maritime Policy in the Mediterranean, involving all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean and regional organisations, which meet annually.
  • Tripartite cooperation between the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the European Investment Bank and the International Maritime Organisation - to develop maritime sectors in the Mediterranean, especially in the EU's southern partner countries. Following up this cooperation and the 12th FEMIP Conference, the 3 are working together with the secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean and the countries concerned, on key ideas including
    • developing maritime clusters
    • promoting a network of maritime training institutes and academies
    • developing a virtual knowledge centre for marine and maritime affairs in the Mediterranean.
  • The Project on Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean - a European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument project funded by southern countries designed to help the southern Neighbourhood countries develop integrated approaches to marine and maritime affairs.
  • Developing sub-regional strategies to exploit the strengths and address the weaknesses of particular maritime regions, e.g. the new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region and its action plan.
  • Each year, the Mediterranean Coast Guard Functions Forum – a voluntary, independent and non-political body - brings together administrations, institutions and agencies working on coast guard issues from all Mediterranean countries. The forums are funded by the Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
  • Ongoing efforts to develop a Virtual Knowledge Centre for marine and maritime affairs in the Mediterranean, to consolidate and share general, technical and sectoral information. The Centre will improve synergies across initiatives and projects, facilitate coordination and cooperation, promote investment and innovation, and support maritime businesses.
  • Two studies were published on the Maritime Forum in 2014:

    (a) Support activities for the development of maritime clusters in the Mediterranean and Black Sea - to map existing clusters, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different types of clusters, and examine how feasible it is to develop national clusters and promote cluster cooperation at sub-regional levels | videos

    (b) Mediterranean Sea – Identification of elements and geographical scope of maritime cooperation, part of a larger study on the growth potential of maritime businesses in the Mediterranean, Adriatic-Ionian and Black Seas. The aim is to assess existing maritime cooperation, highlight the added value of sea-basin/ sub-sea basin cooperation, and identify and propose the most suitable content, geographical scope and process for developing sea basin/ sub-sea basin cooperation further.

    In 2015, the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will launch:

    (a) a study on networking between maritime training academies and institutes in the Mediterranean region to assess whether and how such a network can be set up and whether it would have added value, as well as coastguard-related activities

    (b) research work to help develop and innovate in the maritime economy through the Virtual Knowledge Centre for marine and maritime affairs in the Mediterranean.

Regional cooperation with Mediterranean partners

EU relations with the countries of the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East have been developing through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, established by the 1995 Barcelona Declaration. More recently, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has begun to map out relations between the EU and these regions.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership – or Barcelona Process – is a regional forum for political, economic and social cooperation, which sits alongside bilateral association agreements and ENP action plans. The process was re-launched when the Union for the Mediterranean was set up in 2008.

EU-funded marine and maritime projects fall into a variety of policy areas. Examples are:

Key documents

More info

Maritime Forum

European Atlas of the Seas

European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)


  • Figures on the Mediterranean region

Maritime affairs