International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

European Union (EU)

The European Union has 28 member states, 17 of which are on the common currency. Founded through a string of treaties beginning in the 1950s, the EU has developed its own economic, political and legal policies. Taken as a whole, the EU is the world's largest economy. One of its programme directed at international waters is the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU's marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. It is the first EU legislative instrument related to the protection of marine biodiversity, as it contains the explicit regulatory objective that "biodiversity is maintained by 2020", as the cornerstone for achieving GES.