As part of the upcoming revision of the EU’s Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS, adopted in 2014) and its action plan (2018), the European Commission, together with the European External Action Service and the European Defence Agency, have just launched a public consultation to gather ideas, suggestions and proposals from maritime security experts and the general public on how to further improve the EU’s policy in this important domain. The review will also have a ‘security and defence’ focus since one of the objectives is to align the EUMSS with the recently adopted EU Strategic Compass for Security and Defence.
To that end, a dedicated e-survey has just been launched to obtain the opinions of the general public, including experts in maritime security, academia and research, international bodies and organisations, on the challenges and possible responses to them. The link will be open until 8 September 2022. People or organisations interested in participating in the consultation will be asked to register. The questionnaire is available in all 24 EU languages, and replies may also be given in any of those languages. A factual summary report will be published on the consultation page 8 weeks after the public consultation is closed. Member States are being consulted through the Council Working Party and through the Member States Expert Group on maritime security and surveillance.
A safe and secure maritime space is a prerequisite for preserving the EU’s freedom of navigation, external border control and the supply of essential materials. It is also crucial for protecting economic activities and citizens, both at sea and on shore. The EUMSS and its revised action plan are the framework in which the EU addresses current and future internal and external maritime security challenges. Capability development and defence research & innovation are identified in the EUMSS as important aspects to strengthen maritime security, both at national level and through collaborative projects, including at the European Defence Agency.
As requested by the European Council in June 2021, the EUMSS and the action plan - even though remaining valid - will now have to be aligned with other EU policies and instruments, including the Strategic Compass, to even better address the increasing maritime security challenges Europe is facing.