|Full text PDF:||http://elib.suub.uni-bremen.de/edocs/00104412-1.pdf|
Lately, the declining state of the oceans has recently become an increasing focus of attention of a broader public. In the political sphere as well, marine protection has been receiving more attention in recent years and initiatives to address the marine environment in a comprehensive way are emerging worldwide. This study analyzes the marine environmental policy of the European Union. It focuses on its most developed regulatory instrument, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (2008/56/EC), adopted in 2008. This Directive is supposed to be the environmental pillar of the developing Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union. Its central feature is a novel, regional governance approach. The main aim of the Directive is for the European Seas to achieve good environmental status by 2020 (MSFD, Art. 1; see Irmer et al., 2010). Implementing an encompassing regulation in the complex marine ecosystem despite the difficulties to achieve consensus between 27 different national interests in a contested topic area gives the MSFD the dubious reputation of being one of the most ambitious regulatory projects of the EU in the last years (see Long, 2011; Koivurova, 2009; Rätz et al., 2010; Salomon, 2006). This research analyzes three key aspects of the MSFD.