Barriers to transnational MSP approaches inventory


The study provides an overview of relevant legal and governance barriers to transnational maritime spatial planning.

November 2011
Application in MSP: 
Applied in a related process
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Common Fisheries Policy
Habitats and Birds Directive
Renewable Energy Directive
Trans-European Transport Network

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the barriers, which prevent transnationally coordinated Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)?
  • What approach to cooperation on MSP should be developed to tackle all barriers?

Implementation Context

Barriers to transnational MSP may stem either from existing disconnects between national and international MSP approaches, or from countries’ possible objections towards specific elements of a possible transnational MSP approaches. Other activities in the Seanergy2020 project have mapped current national and international approaches to MSP. No fundamental disconnects between approaches have been identified in these work packages. This practices therefore focuses on the elements of possible transnational MSP approaches that may result in reluctance towards participation.

Aspects / Objectives

To create an inventory of barriers to transnationally coordinated Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) approaches and options to address these barriers.


Barriers have been identified that can be grouped into three overarching categories:

  • Barriers relating to power: Who has the ultimate power to decide; who is involved in the negotiation process?
  • Barriers relating to interests: Are individual (state or stakeholder) interests best served by participation or non-participation in a cooperative approach?
  • Barriers relating to capacity: Political and functional readiness and ability to participate in a negotiation process or maritime spatial planning activities.

Main Outputs / Results

The report elaborates on the three overarching categories of barriers. The researchers conclude that some of the barriers are chiefly linked to the cooperation structure, while others have to do mainly with the content of maritime spatial planning itself. Options to address the barriers should thus aim at these aspects of the MSP approach. Barriers related to power and, to a lesser degree, those related to interests, mainly fall within the group that can be addressed by setting an appropriate cooperation structure. The issues related to capacity, but also some of those related to interests, may be addressed by setting the appropriate agenda, and offering support for planning itself.

The barriers identified have been presented largely as independent issues. A EU approach to cooperation on MSP should however tackle all barriers together. The barriers presented serve as a framework against which potential EU approaches to coordinating transnational MSP can be tested.

The following table provides a short overview of the potential barriers identified.


The practice is a European comparison and the barriers identified relate to transnational cooperation between member states. The findings of this practice are therefore highly transferable.

Costs / Funding Source

The practice was elaborated under the Seanergy 2020 Project co-financed by Intelligent Energy Europe. Direct costs of its elaboration are unknown.

Responsible Entity

European Wind Energy Association

Contact Person

Dorina Iuga

European Wind Energy Association