The overall objective of the Cooperation Project is to support further cross-border and cross-sectoral operational cooperation between public authorities (including EU Agencies) in the execution of the defined maritime functionalities, with a focus on information sharing across sea-basins. The project is one step towards the Common Information Sharing Environment, or CISE, which has been anticipated and described in various high level documents, starting from the European Commission's Blue Paper on Maritime Policy in 2007.
The core of the project is to take steps forward in enabling all maritime surveillance communities such as Border Control, Fisheries Control, Maritime Safety and Security, National Defence, Environmental Protection, Law Enforcement, and Customs Control, to share relevant surveillance data with each other. This may sound like re-inventing the wheel; shouldn't this already exist in the modern and highly technical environment in which the said authorities and institutions are operating? Correct, partly. The clue is that there are still serious boundaries and obstacles between these communities, not to mention the difficulties in transmitting surveillance data between the Member States. Within the EU we have tens of authorities using hundreds of databases and IT systems. We have a massive amount of relevant data, which is currently used to a very tiny proportion of its full potential.
This is where the Cooperation Project is supposed to step in: paving the way for smooth data transmission and easy access whenever relevant. The final report, due to be submitted by end of March 2014, is supposed to consist of recommendations, proposals and technical framework, designed by hundreds of skilful and dedicated experts from 12 countries, representing approximately 50 national services, institutions, agencies, or consortiums. These professionals have working meetings regularly all around Europe in the framework of 5 different thematic groups. Between the meetings lively debate and exchange of "homework" is taking place by e-mail and various workspace applications. Through our partners our project covers sea basins from Black Sea through Mediterranean, Atlantic, and North Sea all the way to Baltic Sea.