“With today’s approval of the Exclusive Economic Zone Law in the Senate, Italy will finally be able to fully project its economic rights over an area of the sea extending up to 200 miles from its shores or up to the limit allowed by international law,” Deputy Minister Di Stefano said.
This measure is fully compliant with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international law and responds to a widely established international trend of progressive extension of the jurisdiction of coastal states in waters beyond their territorial sea. This trend towards the “territorialisation of the sea” is recent in the Mediterranean and has accelerated over the last ten years with the establishment of EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) by several coastal states.
“With this law,” added the Deputy Minister, “we have finally filled a gap in our law and established an Exclusive Economic Zone. We will be able to protect our economic activities, such as sustainable fishing, responsible exploitation of the marine subsoil, but also scientific research and environment and biodiversity protection.”
The law authorises the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) establishment through a further ad hoc measure. Its delimitation will take place primarily based on agreements with the interested neighbouring states. Even before the conclusion of such agreements, the EEZ will allow defining its outer limits unilaterally without compromising or hindering the outcome of the negotiations, as required by international law.
The establishment of the EEZ will increase our country’s responsibility for the balanced and sustainable management of the sea resources in an area equal to more than 20% of the entire surface of the Mediterranean. “In this process, we intend to adopt an inclusive approach fully aware that there can be no appropriation of the sea, but rather its responsible management guarantees its protection and the sustainable use of its resources,” the Deputy Minister concluded.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure the follow-up of the law through the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on the See set up in December 2020 under the chairmanship of Deputy Minister Di Stefano.