Policy & Strategy

Policies are extremely important for BLUEMED, from at least three perspectives:

  • There is a need for a policy perspective addressing SRIA actions
  • It is essential to identify and underline the support to EU, national and regional policies that can be referred to the different SRIA actions, and therefore to BLUEMED
  • They are an essential component of the landscape promoting the conditions for the deployment of SRIA actions.

Policies and strategies are here divided for convenience in four categories:

  • Strategic EU Blue Frame
  • Regional Cooperation
  • Sectoral Policies
  • Directives and other Regulatory Acts

The list is by definition incomplete and continuously evolving.


  • Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010) 2020 final)

    Europe 2020 sets out a vision of Europe’s social market economy for the 21st century.

    Europe 2020 puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities:

    – Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation.

    – Sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy.

    – Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial


  • Blue Growth Strategy

    Towards more sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy (COM(2012)494final; COM(2014)242final)

    The blue economy can be a driver for Europe’s welfare and prosperity. That was the message of the Blue Growth Strategy adopted by the Commission in 2012. Since then, the Commission has undertaken a series of steps to translate it into actions. It has launched initiatives in many policy

    areas related to Europe’s oceans, seas and coasts, facilitating the cooperation between maritime business and public authorities across borders and sectors, and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the marine environment.

  • Integrated Maritime Policy (COM(2007)575final

    The Integrated Maritime Policy seeks to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues, with increased coordination between different policy areas. It focuses on:


    Issues that do not fall under a single sector-based policy e.g. “blue growth” (economic growth based on different maritime sectors).

    Issues that require the coordination of different sectors and actors e.g. marine knowledge.

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (UN, 1993)

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives:

    The conservation of biological diversity;

    The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity;

    The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

  • Sustainable Development Goals Agenda (UN, 2015)

    On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

  • Ocean Governance (Join(2016)49final)

    On 10 November 2016, the European Commission and the EU’s High Representative set out a joint agenda for the future of our oceans, proposing 50 actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans in Europe and around the world.

    The Joint Communication on international ocean governance builds on a widely shared understanding that the ocean governance framework needs to be strengthened, that pressures on the oceans need to be reduced and that the world’s oceans must be used sustainably. It also stresses that a better understanding about the oceans is necessary to achieve these objectives.

  • 7° Environmental Action Programme (Dec.1386/2013/EU)

    In November 2013, the European Parliament and the European Council adopted the 7 th EU Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’. This programme is intended to help guide EU action on the environment and climate change up to and beyond 2020 based on the following vision: ‘In 2050, we live well, within the planet’s ecological limits. Our prosperity and healthy environment stem from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is wasted and where natural resources are managed sustainably, and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored in ways that enhance our society’s resilience. Our low-carbon growth has long been decoupled from resource use, setting the pace for a safe and sustainable global society.’

  • Circular Economy Package (COM(2015)614final)

    The European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

    The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy that establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials.


  • EU Cohesion and Neighborhood Policy (SWD(2015) 500 final)

    The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU’s relations with 16 of the EU’s closest Eastern and Southern Neighbours. To the South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria  and Tunisia and to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russia takes part in Cross-Border Cooperation activities under the ENP and is not a part of the ENP as such.

    The ENP has been launched in 2003 and developed throughout 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. It is based on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights.

    The ENP was reviewed in 2011, following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings. However, given the significant developments in the Neighbourhood since 2011, it became essential to undertake a further  review of the ENP. In this regard, a Joint Communication setting out the main lines of the review of the ENPSearch for available translations of the preceding has been published on 18 November 2015 following a public consultation, involving partner countries, international organisations, social partners, civil society and academia.

  • Barcelona Convention (1976, 1995)

    The Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution (Barcelona Convention) was adopted on 16 February 1976 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Coastal States of the Mediterranean Region for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea, held in Barcelona, in conjunction with two Protocols addressing the prevention of pollution by dumping from ships and aircraft and cooperation in combating pollution in cases of emergency.

    These three legal instruments entered into force on the 12th of February 1978. The convention also made provisions for additional legal instruments to be adopted and was soon complemented by the Protocol on pollution from land based sources (1980), the Protocol concerning Specifically Protected Areas (1982), and the Offshore Protocol (1994).

    In 1995, the Contracting Parties adopted substantive Amendments to the Barcelona Convention of 1976, renamed Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, and which entered into force in 2004. .

    The 22 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the European Union.

  • EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (COM(2012)713final; COM(2014)357final)

    The Region is a functional area primarily defined by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas basin. Covering also an important terrestrial surface area, it treats the marine, coastal and terrestrial areas as interconnected systems. With intensified movements of goods, services and peoples owing to Croatia’s accession to the EU and with the prospect of EU accession for other countries in the Region, port hinterlands play a prominent role. Attention to land-sea linkages also highlights impacts of unsustainable land-based activities on coastal areas and marine ecosystems.  Home to more than 70 million people, the Region plays a key role in strengthening geographical continuity in Europe. The Strategy builds on the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, which concern eight countries.

    The Strategy is defined in a Communication  from the European Commission (2014), accompanied by an Action Plan which presents the objectives and concrete pillars and topics of the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy.

  • Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean (COM(2017)183final)

    The Initiative is based on the Commission’s long-standing experience with sea basin and macro-regional strategies (such as the Atlantic Strategy, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region). It is also based on over two decades of work within the 5+5 Dialogue, which has created strong ties between the participating countries. It also builds on other EU policies linked to the region, such as the European Neighbourhood Policy Review priorities and the recent Communication on International Ocean Governance.

    It aims at enabling the EU and neighbouring countries to work across borders to:

    –           increase safety and security;

    –          promote sustainable blue growth and jobs; and

    –          preserve ecosystems and biodiversity in the western Mediterranean.


  • Common Fisheries Policy (Reg(EU)1380/2013; COM(2011)804final)

    The CFP is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, it gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly.

    Stocks may be renewable, but they are finite. Some of these fishing stocks, however, are being overfished. As a result, EU countries have taken action to ensure the European fishing industry is sustainable and does not threaten the fish population size and productivity over the long term.

    The CFP was first introduced in the 1970s and went through successive updates, the most recent of which took effect on 1 January 2014.

  • Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture (COM(2013)229final)

    European aquaculture offers good quality products, respecting strict environmental sustainability, animal health and consumer protection standards. The excellent

    quality of EU seafood should constitute a major competitive advantage for EU aquaculture; however, the EU aquaculture production is stagnating, in contrast with strong growth in other regions of the world.

    Aquaculture is one of the pillars of the EU’s Blue Growth Strategy and its development can contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy.

  • A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism  (COM(2014)86final)

    In its 2010 Communication, the Commission announced a strategy for sustainable coastal and maritime tourism. The European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of the Regions

    and the European Economic and Social Committee welcomed this proposal and emphasised

    the need for joint action. A public consultation held in 2012 has given a strong basis for a specific EU initiative. Furthermore, the Blue Growth Communication of 2012

     listed coastal and maritime tourism as one of five focus areas for delivering sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy. The

    European Parliament’s 2013 report on Blue Growth  welcomed this European framework and

    recommended a series of actions to boost the sector and support the development of

    sustainable tourism in coastal destinations. The tourism sector is growing and the challenge is to exploit its potential in a way that

    sustainably produces economic benefits.

  • An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (COM(2013)216final)

    In view of the specific and wide ranging nature of climate change impacts on the EU territory,

    adaptation measures need to be taken at all levels, from local to regional and national levels.

    There is also a role for the European Union to fill both knowledge and action gaps and

    complement these efforts through the dedicated EU Strategy.

  • Energy-related policies (COM(2006)848final; COM(2008)768final; COM(2014)15final); Reg(EU)347/2013)

    Several interconnected policies regulate the energy sector (e.g. networks and infrastructures, renevables), also in connection with climate.

  • Transport-related policies (COM(2009)8final; COM(2009)10final; COM(2013)295final); Reg(EU)1315/2013)

    In January 2009, the Commission presented the main strategic objectives for the European maritime transport system up to 2018. The Strategy identifies key areas where action by the EU will strengthen the competitiveness of the sector while enhancing its environmental performance.

    Other policies address related issues such as the establishment of a “European maritime transport space without barriers”, the “motorways of the sea” as part of the Trans-European network (TEN-T) and the role of ports as “engine for growth”.

  • Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe  (COM(2012)60final)

    The Bioeconomy Strategy and its Action Plan aim to pave the way to a more innovative, resource efficient and competitive society that reconciles food security with the sustainable use of renewable resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring environmental protection. They will inform research and innovation agendas in bioeconomy sectors and contribute to a more coherent policy environment, better interrelations between national, EU and global

    bioeconomy policies and a more engaged public dialogue. They will seek synergies and respect complementarities with other policy areas, instruments and funding sources, which share and address the same objectives, such as the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies (CAP and CFP), the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), environmental, industrial,

    employment, energy and health policies.

    The Strategy builds on the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological

    Development (FP7) and the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

    (Horizon 2020).



  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC)

    The Marine Directive aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU’s marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. It is the first EU legislative instrument related to the protection of marine biodiversity, as it contains the explicit regulatory objective that “biodiversity is maintained by 2020”, as the cornerstone for achieving GES.

    The Directive enshrines in a legislative framework the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities having an impact on the marine environment, integrating the concepts of environmental protection and sustainable use.


  • Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)

    European Water Policy has undergone a thorough restructuring process, and now Water Framework Directive adopted in 2000 is the operational tool, setting the objectives for water protection for the present and the future.

    The Water Framework Directive has the following key aims:

    –          expanding the scope of water protection to all waters, surface waters (including coastal waters) and groundwater

    –          achieving “good status” for all waters by a set deadline

    –          water management based on river basins

    –          “combined approach” of emission limit values and quality standards

    –          getting the prices right

    –          getting the citizen involved more closely

    –          streamlining legislation


  • Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/89/EU)

    Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage our waters more coherently. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. That is why the European Parliament and the Council have adopted legislation to create a common framework for maritime spatial planning in Europe.


  • Habitats & Birds Directives (92/43/EEC; 2009/147/EC)

    The Habitats Directive ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species. Some 200 rare and characteristic habitat types are also targeted for conservation in their own right.

    urope is home to more than 500 wild bird species. But at least 32 % of the EU’s bird species are currently not in a good conservation status. The Birds Directive aims to protect all of the 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the European Union.


  • Floods Directive (2007/60/CE)

    Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks entered into force on 26 November 2007. This Directive requires Member States to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk. With this Directive also reinforces the rights of the public to access this information and to have a say in the planning process.


  • Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC)

    The Renewable Energy Directive establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfil at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020.

    On 30 November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the target of at least 27% renewables in the final energy consumption in the EU by 2030 is met.


  • Safety Oil & Gas Directive (2013/30/EU)

    The majority of oil and gas production in Europe takes place offshore and there are currently over 1000 operations in European waters. Given the EU’s growing energy demand, these operations are crucial for helping ensure a secure supply of energy.

    Under the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Directive, the EU has put in place a set of rules to help prevent accidents, as well as respond promptly and efficiency should one occur:

    –          before exploration or production begins, companies must prepare a Major Hazard Report for their offshore installation. This report must contain a risk assessment and an emergency response plan

    –          companies must keep resources at hand in order to put them into operation when necessary

    –          when granting licenses, EU countries must ensure that companies are well financed and have the necessary technical expertise

    –          technical solutions which are critical for the safety of operators’ installations must be independently verified. This must be done prior to the installation going into operation

    –          national authorities must verify safety provisions, environmental protection measures, and the emergency preparedness of rigs and platforms. If companies do not respect the minimum standards, EU countries can impose sanctions, including halting production

    –          information on how companies and EU countries keep installations safe must be made available for citizens

    –          companies will be fully liable for environmental damages caused to protected marine species and natural habitats. For damage to marine habitats, the geographical zone will cover all EU marine waters including exclusive economic zones and continental shelves.


  • Barcelona Convention Protocols

    Seven Protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental conservation complete the MAP legal framework:

    –          Dumping Protocol

    The Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft (adopted in 1976, amended in 1995 – amendments not yet in force)

    –          Hazardous Wastes Protocol

    The Protocol on the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (adopted in 1996), entered into force in 2011

    –          ICZM Protocol

    The Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (adopted in 2008)

    –          LBS Protocol (including Regional plans under art. 15 of LBS) entered into force in 2011

    The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (adopted in 1980, amended in 1996), amendment entered into force in 2008.

    –          Offshore Protocol

    The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution Resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (adopted in 1994), entered into force in 2011

    –          Prevention and Emergency Protocol

    The Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (adopted 2002, replacing the related Protocol of 1976), entered into force in 2004

    –          SPA Protocol

    The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (adopted in 1995, replacing the related protocol of 1982) and Annexes (adopted in 1996, amended in 2009, 2012 and 2013)


“Policy” is per se a flexible concept.

In can be defined (Webster’s Dictionary) as:

  • A definite course or method of action selected (by government, institution, group or individual) from among alternatives and in the light of given conditions to guide and, usually, to determine present and future decisions.
  • A specific decision or set of decisions designed to carry out such a course of action.
  • Such a specific decision or set of decisions together with the related actions designed to implement them.
  • A projected programme consisting of desired objectives and the means to achieve them.

As such, a “Policy” is a set of coherent decisions with a common long-term purpose(s) (UN-FAO). Legislation and other regulatory acts are generally parts of a policy implementation process.

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