Maritime spatial planning (MSP) is a process that enhances comprehensive management of marine space in line with the ecosystem-based approach. Initially introduced as a tool for environmental protection and conservation at the national level, it is nowadays associated with the expansion and intensification of human activities, mainly of an economic nature, in offshore waters and the first attempts for cross-border coordination and cooperation. This expansion in MSP objectives has brought to the forefront the need to introduce institutional mechanisms that would enhance uniformity in states’ practice and the conditions required for cross-border cooperation, taking into account the lack of universally agreed upon rules in this domain. The adoption of the 2014 EU Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning constitutes the first attempt to regulate MSP regionally. This article discusses the content of the new act, its position in relation to the European acquis and the international law of the sea and its implications on Member States’ management of the marine space falling under their jurisdiction.
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