The consultation process presented four policy options [4] • Stat

The consultation process presented four policy options [4] • Status quo: Maintaining the same level of interactions between the Commission and Member States, with no further actions. In light of recent discussions with MSP policy experts, it seems that the most likely outcome is considered to be the adoption of a legally binding instrument for MSP, in the form of a directive. This is in line with the Commission’s position that early development of a coherent framework for MSP is needed at the EU level to guide national processes and to ensure consistency and cross-border cooperation among Member Atezolizumab in vitro States, and that the legal effects of MSP must be established to ensure

its implementation and to provide strategic vision and transparency [55]. The idea of a new MSP directive has already raised several concerns. A number of Member States have expressed concerns that an alternative legal framework for MSP may depart from the environmental objectives established in the MSFD, and reiterated that ‘the concept of the environmental pillar needs to be clearly upheld’ [56] and [57]. A group of environmental NGOs has issued a joint position paper, opposing the Commission’s view that a new framework for the sustainable use of Europe’s seas is needed, as the MSFD already provides for such a framework. They point out that additional provisions for MSP can be added to the MSFD as an annex

or amendments, rather then being fragmented into a new legal instrument [58]. This would be a logical solution, if the Commission intends to NVP-LDE225 cost encourage Member States to undertake MSP following the ecosystem-based approach, as established in the Metalloexopeptidase MSFD. However, the option to strengthen the legal basis of MSP through amending the MSFD was not included in the consultation process. Some [e.g. [25]] consider such an approach (adding additional provisions for MSP under the MSFD) as being focused on a sectoral

interest, i.e. the ‘sector’ being ecosystem conservation, which does not provide for strategic and cross-sectoral MSP. Such a perspective neglects the view that if MSP is to follow a truly ecosystem-based approach, ecosystem conservation should be seen as the foundation for cross-sectoral planning and management. From this perspective, the MSFD represents a coherent framework not only for ecosystem conservation, but also for integrated planning and management in the marine environment. Some would argue that the MSFD exhibits institutional ambiguity, leaving room for manoeuvring during its implementation [59]. However, the level of institutional ambiguity will only increase if a new MSP directive is adopted, which is bound to have a broader policy scope and less clarity on implementation. Another concern of introducing a MSP directive relates to the competence of the EU for spatial planning in Member States’ waters.

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