The European Commission (2006) introduced a Green Paper on a future Maritime Policy for the Union (COM (2006) 275 final), identifying the need for EU policies on sustainable development (SD) and management of the oceans to preserve and protection the marine environment and ecosystems, and develop a thriving maritime economy. Those policies would have to take account the global nature of the oceans, the leadership role of the EU for its regional seas, and its role in wider international governance of the oceans. This paper examines the development of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy, a vision for the seas and oceans, in which it seeks a leading role in environmental protection of the marine environment. It considers how developments in EU maritime policy over the last decade have strengthened protection of the marine environment, regionally and globally, through the introduction of standards which go beyond what is required by international conventions, resulting in those conventions being amended to meet those higher EU standards, and considers the example of the introduction of double hulls for oil tankers. The paper concludes that the EU can and does play a leadership role through its maritime policies, both internally and externally, and across the economic, social and environmental and temporal dimensions of SD.
EU maritime policy, marine environment, marine pollution, sustainable development, international conventions
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