The European maritime area is one of Europe’s most important assets with regard to resources, security and ultimately prosperity of the Member States. A significant part of Europe’s economy relies directly or indirectly on it. It is not just the shipping or fisheries industries and their related activities. It is also shipbuilding and ports, marine equipment and offshore energy, maritime and coastal tourism, aquaculture, submarine telecommunications, blue biotech and the protection of the marine environment. The European maritime area faces several risks and threats posed by unlawful activities, such as drugs trafficking, smuggling, illegal immigration, organised crime and terrorism.