Brussels/ Strasbourg 12th December 2013 – The Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management Directive was voted today in the European Parliament, with a final outcome that falls short of what is needed to support effective protection of the marine environment. 

Brussels/ Strasbourg 12th December 2013 – The Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management Directive was voted today in the European Parliament, with a final outcome that falls short of what is needed to support effective protection of the marine environment. 



“We are disappointed with the European Parliament’s dilution of the European Commission’s proposal” said Bruna Campos, EU Marine and Fisheries Policy Officer at BirdLife Europe. “The European Parliament has traded off the marine environment for the sake of an unsustainable “Blue Growth Agenda”.



Much effort was made to improve the Transport Committee’s report, especially to clarify that the ecosystem based approach was still the basis for planning and that the Directive needs a balanced set of environmental, social and economic objectives. However, the newly agreed Directive is likely to end up undermining crucial pieces of existing legislation, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and the Birds and Habitat’s Directive. 



The Commission proposed a strong framework for Integrated Coastal Management in March earlier this year which has been undermined by the Council position. Today’s plenary session in Parliament at least retains Integrated Coastal Management in the Directive, albeit in a weaker form than we hoped. Integrated Coastal Management will need statutory underpinning to ensure effective land-sea planning and this is only likely to come through Europe.



The European Parliament now has the mandate to start trialogue negotiations with the Council and the European Commission. All three institutions must now work together to ensure a robust Directive, which can help Member States draw up maritime spatial plans and integrated coastal management strategies that secure effective conservation of marine resources and ecosystem services.



“This Directive now needs strong environmental advocates, otherwise many countries will simply continue to weaken the proposal, and it will merely become a vehicle to legitimise unsustainable Blue Growth aspirations”, said Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas At Risk. “Environment Ministers must also take a strong stance and ensure that planning for sustainability is kept at the heart of this Directive”. END



Notes to the editor

  1. 
Joint NGO position paper: The EU Proposal for Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management 
  2. 

Proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/policy/maritime_spatial_planning/index_en.htm


  3. BirdLife Europe is the European division of BirdLife International, a global alliance of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
  4. 

Seas At Risk is a European association of non-governmental environmental organisations working to protect and restore to health the marine environment of the European seas and the wider North East Atlantic. www.seas-at-risk.org

For more information contact


  • Bruna Campos, EU Marine and Fisheries Policy Officer (BirdLife Europe), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel: +32 478886420 

  • Ann Dom, Assistant Director, Seas At Risk, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel: +32 2 893 0965

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