The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Pilot study - Benefits of considering spatial interests in sectoral policies using the example of the Integrated Maritime Policy

Project briefing

Better integration of spatial interests in sectoral policies represents a significant requirement in the Territorial Agenda 2020. By concentrating on the example of the Integrated Maritime Policy, this pilot study investigated how sectoral policies can both benefit, if spatial objectives are considered, and be implemented even more effectively.

Project duration: September 2013 - August 2015


Better integration of spatial interests in sectoral policies represents a significant requirement for the national ministers responsible for spatial planning and territorial development in the context of the Territorial Agenda 2020. This requirement is based on the new EU objective of territorial integrity and territorial cohesion as anchored in the Lisbon Treaty. Considering spatial diversity in the planning process - i.e. different regional characteristics - increases efficiency and synergies and, as a result, supports ambitious growth objectives of the European Union.

Studies have shown that spatial aspects in sectoral policies are currently taken into consideration very differently. Some sectoral policies, such as regional and transport policies, are characterised by a strong spatially differentiated approach, while other sectoral policies, such as research and fishing policies, only consider spatial aspects to a very limited extent. The research project "The territorial dimension of future EU cohesion policy", carried out on behalf of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), demonstrated that a lack of knowledge of the benefits of a spatially differentiated approach amongst politicians is jointly responsible for the limited consideration of spatial aspects in individual sectoral policies.


The pilot study aimed to investigate how sectoral policies may benefit from the consideration of spatial objectives and thereby be implemented even more effectively. The study should develop arguments which highlight the benefits of integrating spatial aspects in sectoral planning. This should be analysed using the example of the Integrated Maritime Policy, a comparatively "young", multi-spatial and multi-sectoral area of policy. With respect to the Integrated Maritime Policy, the research project included the specific question of whether, and if so, how maritime policy fully utilises its integration potential and how it can be implemented even more effectively by considering spatial relationships.

Primarily the European and German Integrated Maritime Policies were analysed during the course of the pilot study. In addition, transnational maritime policy approaches in the context of INTERREG III B and IV B projects executed in the North Sea Region and Baltic Sea Region cooperation areas were incorporated. Stakeholders in maritime policy were also included in the development of the study by participating in two events.

DSN - Connecting Knowledge, Kiel, was the contractor for the research project.


  • Dr. Wilfried Görmar
    Division I 3 - European Spatial and Urban Development

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