MSP and the EU

While the responsibility for implementing MSP lies with each EU Member State, the EU acts as a facilitator for cooperation and development of a common approach, since it is important to achieve a coherent framework for MSP within the EU as a whole. In 2008, the European Commission adopted the “Roadmap for Maritime Spatial Planning: Achieving Common Principles in the EU”, an important component of the Integrated EU Maritime Policy. In 2011, it launched an impact assessment, including a public consultation process, to explore a range of options to promote and develop MSP further. In 2014 the EU MSP directive was adopted. This directive prescribes that MSPs have to be in place in all EU member states by 2021.

Visit the European Commissions Maritime Spatial Planning website.


Within the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), MSP is highly promoted by both the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) and the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB). In accordance with the Horizontal Action “Encourage the use of Maritime Spatial Planning in all Member States around the Baltic Sea and develop a common approach for cross-border cooperation”, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has attributed HELCOM and VASAB a prominent role in promoting MSP in the region together with other stakeholders.

For this purpose, a joint co-chaired Working Group on Maritime Spatial Planning was launched in October 2010 by HELCOM and VASAB’s Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSPD/BSR). The Working Group was established to ensure cooperation among the BSR countries for coherent MSP processes in the region. The Working Group served as a Project Advisory Group for the PartiSEApate project.

The model of a MSP governance framework in the Baltic Sea Region, worked out in the course of the PartiSEApate project, provides the background for a set of guidelines expected to be adopted by the HELCOM/VASAB Working Group on MSP in 2015:

  • Guidelines on transboundary consultation and cooperation in the field of MSP within the BSR
  • Guidelines on public participation for MSP with transboundary dimensions