In 2008, the European Commission adopted its first legislative instrument for comprehensive protection of the marine environment, the Marine Strategy Framework
Directive (MSFD). By the end of 2012, the first concrete steps have been taken in the implementation of the directive, including its transposition into national legislations and the preparation of the first phase of the national marine strategies, i.e. Initial Assessment (IA) (Art.8), Determination of Good Environmental Status (GES) (Art.9), and Setting Environmental Targets and Indicators (Art.10). These steps aim at national marine strategies that will further include a Monitoring Programme and a Programme of Measures. The aim of this report is to describe and compare the different preparation processes the MSFD enacted in Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Finland. Throughout the Baltic Sea region, the preparation process has been supported by informal EU level working groups as well as by HELCOM working groups and projects. While the former WGs have concentrated on creating common understanding and providing guidelines for the process, the contribution of the latter ones has been mainly on providing relevant information (i.e. assessments and indicators) for the Baltic Sea region. This study was conducted between June and October 2012 and therefore the observations presented in this report reflect to the processes that took place up to October 2012.
The MSFD had been transposed into national legislation in all of the case countries apart from Poland in which the transposition is expected to be finalised by the end of 2012. The delay in the transposition process has significant consequences to the preparation process of Polish national marine strategy. However, all of the four countries failed to finalise the first phase of the national marine strategies (i.e. articles 8, 9 and 10 of the directive) by July 15th 2012, as was required by the directive. Furthermore, the directive stipulated that the first phases of the national marine strategies are reported to the Commission by October 15th 2012, but Denmark was the only country able to report the complete first phase of its national marine strategy to the Commission by the established deadline.
The preparation processes and the modes of operation varied regarding, for example, the division of responsibilities in the preparation process. In Denmark and Sweden the responsibility for implementing the MSFD was given to a single agency, whereas in Poland and Finland the responsibility was shared between three ministries and their respective administrative sectors. In Denmark and Poland, the preparation of articles 8, 9 and 10 were outsourced through tendering to national research institutes, universities and a consultancy company (in Denmark), whereas in Finland and Sweden, the related authorities (government agencies and institutes) have carried out the preparatory work as a part of their official duties.
In all of the four countries, relevant administrative sectors participated in the preparation process, however, wider stakeholder participation was organised only through the hearing procedures. The hearing procedure was organised in Finland and Sweden in the spring of 2012 and in Denmark over the summer of 2012. The procedure will be organised in Poland after the transposition of the MSFD has been finalised. Despite of the short – only 4 weeks long – hearing procedures over a hundred comments were received in Finland and over seventy in Sweden. In Denmark, the process lasted for 12 weeks and 28 comments were received.
2013. , 88 p.
MSFD, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, policy, EU Commission, stakeholder, Good Environmental Status, marine, Baltic Sea, indicator, national legislation, HELCOM