More international cooperation on North Sea arrangements
Today, countries around the North Sea have agreed to use and protect this sea more efficiently. Until now, countries mainly cooperated within their own sectors at the international level, in the fields of energy, fisheries and nature for example.
Minister Mark Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management): "One of the big challenges in the North Sea is space. Every country wants space for ships, but also sustainable energy, sufficient space for sustainable fisheries and a healthy habitat for birds, fish and mammals. I see that together we can tackle these challenges much more efficiently, for example by ensuring that we do not build a wind farm at our border if Germany plans a shipping lane on their side. Today's agreements are a first step towards optimizing the available space."
The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Sweden and the UK signed multiple working agreements. Under the name Greater North Sea Basin Initiative (GNSBI), they organize their government structures in such a way that both countries and sectors can find each other faster and better. This will make it easier to share knowledge. For instance about future prospects of fishing or about the combined effect of wind farms, sand extraction and shipping for the North Sea.
Previously, the European Commission indicated that GNSBI is an example to the rest of Europe on how spatial planning can be optimized internationally.