The Belgian part of the North Sea forms just 0.5% of the North Sea and thus covers a very small part of the world's seas. It hence goes without saying that the federal marine environmental policy is driven by the international processes, in the first place by the environmental policy of the European Union.
- As far as the marine environment is concerned, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is the determining instrument towards the goal of a 'good environmental status' by 2020.
- With reference to the marine biodiversity, priority is given to the implementation of theHabitats Directive and the Birds Directive and the Natura 2000 network at sea.
- As regards the coastal waters, the federal government watches over the proper implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Finally, there are several international agreements under which umbrella one has to work, and this at the level of the North Sea, the North-east Atlantic and the global level. Large parts of the world's seas indeed belong to the whole world and not to certain countries or regions. The Marine Environment service not only implements what is internationally agreed to, but is also actively involved in the shaping of the international marine environmental agendas.