The Atlantic Strategy

The Atlantic Strategy and the 2013 – 2020 Action Plan

In 2011 the European Commission adopted an Atlantic Maritime Strategy in response to repeated calls from stakeholders for a more ambitious, open and effective cooperation in the Atlantic Ocean Area. The strategy, consistent with the EU 2020 agenda and its flagship initiatives, grouped the identified challenges and opportunities facing the Atlantic region under five main thematic headings. 

The EU’s 2013-2020 Atlantic Action Plan set out practical steps to be taken in the 4 Member States with Atlantic coasts (Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain) and their outermost regions in order to boost the Atlantic Ocean Area’s sustainable blue economy by 2020.  Its priorities were: 

Mid-Term Review - A Revised Atlantic Action Plan 2.0

The 2013 – 2020 Atlantic Action Plan underwent a mid-term review in 2017 in order to assess its performance and draw lessons from its implementation to pave the way for the future.  The Mid-term Review of the AAP, based on an independent study and a stakeholder consultation, found that by 2017 the plan had spurred over 1200 new maritime projects and nearly 6 billion euro of investments, an achievement that is visible in the EASME maritime datahub.  Based on the findings of the mid-term review, notably the potential of the action plan to create even more impact for the coastal economy, the European Commission took concrete steps in order to safely steer the Atlantic Maritime Strategy into a promising future.  A first series of workshops, revolving around themes identified as highly relevant for the Atlantic blue economy were held between September and November 2018 in the Atlantic Member States.

The revised Atlantic Action Plan 2.0 was communicated by the European Commission on 23 July 2020.  Its main objective is to unlock the potential of blue economy in the Atlantic area while preserving marine ecosystems and contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Its aims are in line with the global commitments for sustainable development and are fully integrated in the European Commission’s political priorities for 2019 - 2024, notably a European Green Deal, an Economy that works for people and a stronger Europe in the world.

The Atlantic Action Plan 2.0 includes four pillars which represent a practical way to make the common vision a reality. All pillars are integrally interconnected and transregional by nature and address key challenges and aim to foster sustainable blue growth and contribute to greater territorial cooperation and cohesion in the EU Atlantic area.  The pillars focus on issues that one coastal region and one single State cannot solve alone or it is more efficient to act together and deliver on challenges that matter in the daily lives of people living in the coastal areas.  

The research activities implemented as part of the Galway (2013) and Belém (2017) Statements and the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance cut across all pillars. They give an international dimension to the action plan and support its implementation by improving understanding of the changing Atlantic Ocean and its effects on coastal communities and by developing innovative solutions.

The governance of the Atlantic Maritime Strategy rests with the Atlantic Strategy Committee (ASC), which is responsible for the strategic decision-making related to the review, operational coordination and implementation of the Atlantic action plan. 

To support the ASC in its tasks, the Commission continues with the implementation of the Atlantic Assistance Mechanism. The assistance mechanism provides a series of services aimed at keeping stakeholders informed of the latest news on the action plan and new funding opportunities generated under the scope of the maritime strategy. It also encourages stakeholder’s participation through the organization of specialized events, mapping of funded projects that contribute to the strategy and its action plan (datahub), as well as promote development of new projects and ideas.

Join us in building a thriving Atlantic Ocean Area

The Maritime Forum aims to improve communication amongst EU maritime policy stakeholders. It allows parties interested in the EU maritime policy to communicate on a common platform. They can publish events, documents and follow developments in their areas of interest. Information can be shared amongst a closed community or published openly. Anybody can register to the forum and comment on its content.

More information on the European Commission actions related to the Atlantic strategy can be found at the DG MARE website as well as in the Useful Links.