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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement20 July 2021Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries1 min read

A practical guide for EU cooperation on coast guard activities

The European Commission has adopted a ‘Practical Handbook’ for closer cooperation between coast guard functions across the EU.


The handbook will improve cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between civilian and military authorities carrying out coast guard functions. It has been developed between the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), together with Member States’ experts.

The handbook provides a compilation of services and relevant information available through the three agencies, including cooperation frameworks, training courses, best practice guidelines and manuals of all inter-agency activities supporting coast guard functions in EU countries. Country factsheets provide details on the structure and organisation of coast guard functions in EU countries and EFTA States. Over autumn 2021, an online platform will be launched by EFCA, supported by the other two agencies and the Commission. The platform will contain the practical information offered by the handbook, continuously updated by the three agencies, with input from the national authorities, to further improve the coast guard cooperation across the EU.


A safe and secure maritime space is crucial to protect the EU’s strategic interests such as freedom of navigation, external border control or the supply of essential materials. Moreover it is a prerequisite for developing European economic activities at sea and on shore, called the blue economy.  The cooperation on coast guard activities at EU and Member States level will contribute to this safe and secure maritime space, as highlighted in the EU maritime security strategy and its revised action plan. Therefore, the legal acts of the three agencies (EFCA, EMSA and Frontex) had set the obligation for a “Practical Handbook”, in order to facilitate the cooperation between the relevant national and EU authorities and bodies carrying out coast guard functions.

More information

20 JULY 2021
Commission recommendation establishing a ‘Practical Handbook’ on European cooperation on coast guard functions
20 JULY 2021
Annex to the Commission Recommendation establishing a "Practical Handbook" on European cooperation on coast guard functions

Coast guard cooperation

Maritime security strategy

Sustainable blue economy


Publication date
20 July 2021
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries