For centuries, the maritime domain has been a pillar of European livelihoods and prosperity through fishing and global trade. In modern times, we have come to depend on maritime transport to keep our economy going.
Recently, however, old and new threats have challenged the security of the European Union: increased tensions between great powers; piracy in Somalia and West Africa; illegal immigration issues in the Mediterranean area; and increased concerns about terrorism and the illegal trafficking of drugs, arms and humans into Europe. These direct risks and threats are aggravated by pollution, illegal fishing and the destruction of livelihoods overseas.
Dealing with these challenges, risks and threats calls for a broad spectrum of instruments, of which many are in the maritime domain. Yet the scope of the challenges is such that a more comprehensive response is required, involving all sectors and including civilian and military assets at both the national and EU levels. This implies the need for policies that bring together and coordinate actors with varying legal mandates, practices and attitudes.