A set of eight principles is contained in the European Recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The principles have been adopted with the minimum of critical review. The six core principles form two groups, one concerned with strategic goals and one that has a local focus. The principles are presented as a menu of free-standing options, with no prioritization either within or between groups. This can produce irreconcilable differences in strategy. The principles require clarification, prioritization of the strategic principles and recognition that they are an indivisible integrated set which should not be used to select principles to advance a particular agenda.