The objective of the project is to support the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in EU Member States within their marine waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Adriatic, Ionian, Aegean and Levantine Seas and to launch and carry out concrete, cross-border MSP cooperation initiatives between Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In order to achieve these objectives, it is essential to underline that the project involves competent authorities in charge of MSP, as designated by the Governs of four Members States (out of five present in the area), and the UNEP/MAP Barcelona Convention. In addition, the project activities will be performed in collaboration with other relevant authorities in the field of MSP, such as the regional authorities (NUTS 2).

Cooperation is a key issue for Maritime Spatial Planning. It is a guiding principle of EC’s Roadmap for MSP (COM(2008)791 final) and the Art.11.1 of the MSP Directive (2014/89/EU) states that “Member States bordering marine waters shall cooperate with the aim of ensuring that maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated across the marine region concerned. Such cooperation shall take into account, in particular, issues of a transnational nature.”

Cooperation among countries within MSP could be considered difficult to reach, due to cultural, social, policy and governance differences, including the non- membership in the European Union of some countries. However, for the Adriatic-Ionian Sea the cross-border cooperation is already framed into the macroregional Adriatic and Ionian Region Strategy – EUSAIR as in the EC Communication COM(2014)357 final and the related Action Plan SWD(2014)190 final, that create the bases for a cooperative effort to implement MSP in an Adriatic-Ionian basin perspective. In this area, a fruitful crossborder MSP exercise has been developed in the ADRIPLAN pilot project, co-funded by DG-MARE. Other initiatives and projects have been launched in the recent years in the Aegean and Levantine seas (e.g. MARISCA and PROTOMEDEA). In addition, there is more than 40 years of ongoing regional cooperation on environmental matters under the auspices of UNEP MAP/Barcelona Convention.

Considering the need of a Mediterranean dialogue, SUPREME will promote a continuous interaction with the twin project on the Western Mediterranean, in order to share approaches, experiences and results and to promote joint events, as useful.