Summary: The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the best- known aspect of a far more sweeping Common (or Integrated) Maritime Policy. In ambition this covers every maritime aspect from offshore energy reserves and carbon storage through to coastal museums and aquaria. CSDP-relevant angles include coastal protection and surveillance aspects. In terms of assets, the EU already has two decades of history in running (hired) aviation and maritime fisheries monitoring vessels – the basic principle of an EU air force and navy has already been ceded.
At stake: The UK regaining sovereignty over its territorial waters. The Common Maritime Policy green paper was withdrawn in the face of member state opposition, but individual elements have simply been pushed separately.
What they say: “the Commission proposes an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, based on the clear recognition that all matters relating to Europe’s oceans and seas are interlinked, and that sea-related policies must develop in a joined-up way if we are to reap the desired results” – Commission ‘Blue Paper’
Exposure: The UK is committed to regaining its status as an independent coastal state, though this depends on the fisheries treaty, and may be eroded through cooperating in European Defence Agency (EDA) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) work in maritime areas.
Action: HMG must take a particularly robust line in CFP negotiations. Individual maritime policies should be monitored for risk of crossover and unintended consequences in security, sovereignty, and safeguarding – for example by ensuring UK Research Vessel assets are not pooled.