The European context


The European Commission has highlighted the great potential of Blue Growth (BG) for Europe in a dedicated strategy. BG can be considered an instrument that could help drive job creation and promote stability in Europe as it represents around 5.4 million jobs and a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year.

The strategy fosters the integration of knowledge and efforts of EU Member States, aiming to jointly create new ‘blue’ jobs and a sustainable industrial growth in the marine and maritime sectors. Specific sea basin strategies have also been designed to achieve these objectives.

Five subsectors constituting the blue economy are presented in the following illustration with among them the coastal and maritime tourism. They are interdependent, relying on common skills and shared infrastructure such as ports and electricity distribution networks. They depend on others using the sea sustainably.


The European Integrated Maritime policy

Created in 2007, the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) has been designed to enhance the sustainable development of the European maritime economy and to better protect the marine environment by facilitating the cooperation of all maritime players across sectors and borders. The objective is to organise the sustainable deployment of activities on coasts and at sea as different sectors compete for space and resources across sea basins.

Specific tools were conceived to enable growth by facilitating the coexistence of multiple activities, while reducing environmental impacts:

  • Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) ensure the efficient cross-sectoral and cross-border planning of marine waters and management of costal zones;
  • The 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the environment pillar of the IMP, aims to achieve good environmental status (GES) for EU marine waters by 2020.