Commission welcomes Parliament support for better maritime planning

Source: DG MARE

The European Parliament voted today to support the Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) – a cornerstone policy of the EU’s Blue Growth agenda.

The Parliament gave strong support for the Commission’s objective to set out a procedural framework for MSP and ICM that will ensure their implementation throughout Europe. It also confirmed the requirement for Member States to cooperate in the planning of cross-border sea areas.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said: “I am grateful for the support our proposals received in today’s Plenary. This is a significant step towards ensuring that Europe’s Member States work together for the sustainable development of Europe’s blue economy. MSP will help to create an optimal investment climate for maritime sectors and give operators more certainty as to what opportunities for economic development are possible. We look forward to further cooperation with both Council and European Parliament over the next months to reach an adoption of this important proposal before April 2014.”

The aim of the Commission’s proposal is to help EU Member States address the uncoordinated use of marine and coastal areas and help clarify the uncertainties on access to the maritime space and multiple pressures on the environment, in particular by improving cross-border cooperation. The status quo for the management of sea space in Europe is too often detrimental to investment in the Blue Economy. MSP and ICM will boost sustainable maritime growth by facilitating the spatial development of emerging sectors, such as renewable energy or aquaculture, whilst taking into account the health of marine eco-systems.

The proposals are of purely procedural nature and do not interfere with the substantial planning of Member States. The Directive only requires all Member States to implement MSP and to do so in a manner that is sufficiently compatible to allow cooperation in cross-border areas.

Following today’s vote, the Parliament referred the proposal back to the TRAN Committee with a view to reaching a first reading agreement with the Council before the end of the current session.

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