New EU Marine Strategy for the Atlantic

By May.22, 2013

The European Commission has published a new ‘Action Plan for the Atlantic Ocean’, the main aim of which is to help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the “blue economy” while also preserving the environmental stability of the Atlantic. This article summarises the key references to research, including on the link with Horizon 2020.


The Action Plan sets out four key priorities:

  • Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • Protecting, securing and enhancing the marine and coastal environment;
  • Improving accessibility and connectivity; and
  • Creating a socially inclusive and sustainable model of regional development.

A significant goal of the Action Plan relates to EU countries working together to tackle these issues, and the document is intended as an “invitation to the private sector, researchers, regional and national public bodies and other actors to start designing projects that respond to the priorities”. This includes sharing knowledge between research institutions and encouraging greater networking and co-operative research activities.

A further priority relates to improving the aquaculture industry in Europe by means of research, while supporting research to develop a European Atlantic ocean observing and predictive capability; to create a sustainable European marine biotechnology industry and to accelerate the deployment of offshore renewable energy is also mentioned.

The Action Plan’s priorities will be reflected in future EU research funding in this area, and the document states:

  • “The Action Plan will serve to guide the Commission itself in implementing directly managed funds, including Horizon 2020, LIFE+, COSME and the directly managed elements of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Indeed, Horizon 2020 will be a key support to the implementation of the Action Plan and is already considering “blue growth” as one of its focus areas for research in the coming years”.