ESPON Workshop

“Stepping into the sea -
New evidence on territorial development and
the opportunities and risks for European seas and maritime regions”


Brussels, 15 May 2013

Timing: 9h00 – 16h30

Background and objectives

As Europe seeks to emerge from the consequences of the economic crisis, the importance of territorial cohesion in supporting ‘smart sustainable and inclusive growth’ is becoming ever more apparent. However for many years territorial cohesion has been equated with a terrestrial or land based agenda.

Recently there has been a growing realisation that the seas are also a context which can help governments realise their development aspirations. Increasing opportunities for human use of the sea are set alongside growing realisation of the complexity of land-sea interactions and an awareness of the risks that the new focus on marine areas pose to both ecological and human wellbeing. As a consequence, calls for more integrated forms of planning and governance that have long been a feature of terrestrial planning have begun to emerge for the sea. These perspectives emphasise the importance of governance arrangements that facilitate horizontal and vertical integration, particularly in cross border and transnational contexts, and also across the land-sea divide.

Indeed, European policy is making increasing reference to the marine environment as an integral part of the territorial agenda. The Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 acknowledges the importance of maritime activities for Europe’s territorial cohesion. Also, the EC Common Strategic Framework which seeks to develop place-based integrated funding packages for 2014-2020 emphasises regional seas as functional areas within which strategic investments can be made. In addition, DG Mare, through its Blue Growth Strategy, is drawing attention to the growth potential offered by the seas and oceans. Regional seas activities in the Baltic, Atlantic, North Sea and Adriatic and elsewhere are also developing, putting emphasis on land-sea relations and maritime spatial planning.

Clearly maritime considerations are increasingly linked to territorial cohesion agendas and therefore policies need to be framed in ways that relate to place-specific risks and opportunities.

 Aim of the ESPON Workshop








This ESPON workshop aimed at providing information on land-sea interactions within Europe’s six regional seas, which can be used by stakeholders for the elaboration of both, future Structural Funds programmes but also other development strategies. New evidence on the development opportunities and challenges of Europe’s seas were presented, while also taking into account coastal and maritime governance arrangements. Place-based policy approaches for Europe’s seas were discussed which will be of high relevance for future EU funding possibilities.








The first part of the workshop offered an introduction into maritime policy on different policy levels, i.e. European, national and transnational. Relevant strategies and policies of integrated territorial-maritime development were presented, nicely setting the scene for the subsequent interventions.

The second part of the morning session started off with an introduction into the main outputs and key messages of the ESPON ESaTDOR project by Dave Shaw, University of Liverpool. The presentation was followed by short statements of stakeholders on the usefulness of the new evidence produced related to European seas.

In the afternoon, Jacek Zaucha presented the current results of the PartiSEApate project, looking into multi-level governance in maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea Region. Against this backdrop as well as the relevant results from ESaTDOR on governance arrangements, stakeholders reflected upon experiences made concerning governance in their respective regional seas.

The plenary discussion was lively and fruitful, not least thanks to the skilfull chairing of Flo Clucas in the morning and Susanne Scherrer in the afternoon.The first slot of this ESPON workshop will give the opportunity to the different policy levels (European, national, transnational) to set the scene by presenting relevant strategies/policies of integrated territorial-maritime development.








Broad conclusions from the day included:

  • The evidence created by the ESaTDOR project has generally been appreciated and considered very useful by stakeholders present at the workshop. Several stakeholders confirmed that the results become available at the right moment in time to be considered e.g. for the design of new Structural Funds programmes.
  • European regional seas define a number of functional areas that would be worthwhile being further analysed and zoomed into in a future ESPON programme. Future European Investment Funds Programmes could target strategic investments in these functional areas combining land and sea.
  • In the future, maps on maritime regions could also reveal that investments in the latter can have positive effects beyond these regions and even stretch out to the centre of Europe.
  • There was unanimous agreement that maritime planning is not the same as terrestrial planning as the conditions are quite different and more complex than on land. This needs to be kept in mind in endeavours related coastal and maritime planning.
  • By the same token, rather than thinking of more planning for the seas and coastal areas, which already exists plentifully, the right planning is needed, picking up the existing needs and opportunities of the regions in question and involving relevant stakeholders.
  • In terms of governance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that could be transferred from one regional sea to another. Furthermore, it is vital to develop a common language that can be shared and understood by everyone who is involved in maritime planning and development.


Further information

Please find below the programme of the workshop and the presentations shown.

More photos here.

Contact the ESPON Coordination Unit at [email protected] for additional details.


This Workshop is organised within the framework of the ESPON 2013 Capitalisation Strategy / Actions related to European Seminars and Workshops

Stepping into the sea -
New evidence on territorial development and
the opportunities and risks for European seas and maritime regions”

Brussels, 15 May 2013

























































































  • Acrobat Document | 507KB


  • Acrobat Document | 20KB

Article "Maritime policy and transnational cooperation in the focus of workshop discussions"

  • Acrobat Document | 242KB

Welcome and setting the scene

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 317KB

The European perspective – Blue Growth - opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 7986KB

The national perspective – On a broad reach? Maritime issues and regional development

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 3924KB

The transnational perspective - Experience in maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management in the Baltic Sea Region

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 7262KB

Development opportunities and challenges of Europe’s seas

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 8921KB

Multi-level governance in maritime spatial planning throughout the Baltic Sea Region

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 2383KB

The Arctic Dimension – a new driver in international regional cooperation

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 3159KB

Practical information

  • Acrobat Document | 136KB

Map public transport Brussels

  • Acrobat Document | 1691KB