On 17 May, the European Commission published its new approach to achieving a sustainable blue economy in the EU. These guidelines are aligned with the objectives of the European Green Deal to ensure that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is ecologically sustainable and inclusive. This document develops the goals within the framework of the blue economy for the EU:
- achieve the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution;
- switch to a circular economy and reduce pollution;
- preserve biodiversity and invest in nature;
- support climate adaptation and coastal resilience;
- ensure sustainable food production;
- improve management of space at sea.
This last goal highlights the important role of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in the sustainable use of the marine environment. MSP remains an essential tool to prevent spatial conflicts between activities taking place at sea and to ensure a balance between nature conservation and economic development. In 2022, the Commission will publish a report on the implementation of the MSP Directive and the adoption of Member States' national plans in order to facilitate cross-border cooperation and encourage Member States to integrate objectives of offshore renewable energy development in their national spatial plans. The above communication from the Commission also sets out its intention to revise the MSFD and to prepare guidance on an ecosystem-based approach to maritime spatial planning and promote the multi-use of marine space.