Problems of Deterioration

Many of the problems faced by Europe's coastal regions involve more than one country. If an oil tanker were to sink in the English Channel, for example, the resulting slick would be likely to affect both the United Kingdom and France. Similarly, industrial and agricultural pollution that might find it's way into the Danube River in Austria would cross several national borders before finally flowing into the Black Sea thousands of miles away in Romania.

The EU's coastal zones can also find themselves influenced by policies that at first glance seem to have nothing at all to do with them. The EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for example, can influence how much excrement from intensive pig and cattle farms is regularly washed into streams and rivers. Nitrates found in manure and chemical fertilizers promote the growth of blue?green algae, which reproduce at a phenomenal rate choking many other forms of aquatic life. When it reaches the sea, this algae-rich water can cause severe problems for coastal regions, particularly in the form of polluted bathing beaches. Evolution of the CAP will hopefully help to reduce the problem of nitrate pollution.

Similarly, EU policies intended to influence the economic viability of rural and mountainous areas can have strong influence on the number of people migrating to the coast.