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Cross-border Cooperation

Main issues

The ‘EU MSP Directive’ stipulates that Member States should ensure trans-boundary cooperation between Member States (Art. 11) as well as promote cooperation with third countries (Art.12).

A distinction has to be made between a) the cross-border consultation process for a concrete Maritime Spatial Plan and b) the more general, continuous process of cooperation among Member States and their stakeholders within a given sea-basin.

  1.  Consultation of practical topics is arising in the course of elaboration of maritime spatial plans, e.g. trans-boundary impacts of the plan, or trans-boundary coherence of the planning provisions. This usually takes place in bilateral or trilateral interactions (cross-border interactions) and refers to the formal process, which takes place between affected countries and their authorities on specific provisions foreseen in a given Maritime Spatial Plan. As also discussed under topic Environmental Assessments, the SEA Protocol of the Espoo (EIA) Convention provides a framework for facilitating formal cross-border consultation between neighbouring states. This, however, relates to environmental impacts only and thus also limits the range of authorities and institutions that are addressed. Often the consultation takes places rather late in the process.
  2. Cooperation on maritime spatial planning concerns more strategic and farsighted decisions. It is understood as a more open and preparatory process with focus on information and knowledge exchange as well as development of common understanding. In contrast stakeholder involvement provides methods, see topic..

Both processes may reinforce each other by building trust, extending knowledge, improving information sharing and securing personal contacts between maritime spatial planners from various countries.

The 2018 Study, Cross-border Consultation on Maritime Spatial Plans, written by the EU MSP Platform for DG MARE / EASME, is intended to inform the design and execution of cross-border consultation exercises - either as part of developing an initial maritime spatial plan, revising an existing plan, or a preparing a “next generation” plan - as well as advise those who are expected to respond to a consultation request. The principles and practices for cross-border consultation described are based upon existing knowledge and experiences from both formal consultation processes as well as informal cooperation experiences, among other sources.

Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adriatic Atlas to support ICZM and MSP


The "Adriatic Atlas to support ICZM and MSP" is the first Web Atlas for the Adriatic Sea that was developed, within the Shape project, through a cross-border approach (involving Italy...

  • Jan 2014

Cross-border cooperation in Maritime Spatial Planning

European Commission DG MARE

This study was designed to assist the European Commission and Member States in the implementation of the MSP Directive through the identification of good practices of MSP, with a particular...

  • Jun 2017

TPEA Pilot Areas Report


Evidence of MSP authorities working together on defining transborder issues, collecting and sharing data, creating common GIS platform, undertaking stakeholder engagement etc.

  • Oct 2015

Black Sea Case Study


Analysis of links between economic, social and ecological marine spatial planning processes with the aim of providing practical input for the development of a long-term strategy towards evaluation and monitoring of MSP in the Black Sea.
  • Oct 2013

Report on Marine Protected Areas


There is a need to establish a network of marine protected areas in the Alboran Sea, with an integrated and focused on cooperation perspective and building from the results and...

  • Jul 2013

Pilot MSP plan in Lesvos and Rhodes (Greece)


The practice aimed to develop an MSP methodology and its pilot implementation in selected regions of Greece and Cyprus, as well as to support the preparation of both countries for the implementation of the EU Directive on MSP.
  • Dec 2015

MSP exercise in Northern Adriatic


The analysis on ADRIPLAN Focus Areas downscaled and applied at the sub-regional level the overall MSP methodology developed by the project. This analysis entered in more details of the site-specific...

  • Jul 2015