maritime piracy

The Commission is preparing an action plan against maritime piracy

(B2) Faced with the resurgence of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, and the economic and security problems that this creates, the fight against maritime piracy has become a “top” priority in Brussels.

The European Commission has thus just set up a working group, made up of experts from all the services concerned (maritime transport, security, development, justice) which will meet for the first time on 29 September. Objective: to identify the economic and legal aspects of the question. They are not missing! While the military staff of the European Union draws the contours of a naval air intervention force.

Three concrete questions are at stake.
Funding. The Commission would like to present an action program for 2009-2011 in critical maritime routes, such as the Horn of Africa, the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. The interest of this program is to be able to release the necessary resources to finance concrete projects: equipping the boats circulating in the area, strengthening a coordination unit, etc. The first projects must be ready by the end of the year.

Changing the law. Not everything is allowed at the international level in the face of pirates. And many questions remain to be resolved. For example: What to do with pirates captured in international or territorial waters? Which court has jurisdiction? And what law apply? The discussion is open at the UN level but also at the International Maritime Organization in London, where a text is to be discussed in December (a Danish initiative).

Intervention off Somalia. Three options are studied by the military: 1°: to deter and stop the pirates; 2°: protection or even escort of merchant ships; 3°: these two actions combined. The decision on the action could be taken in October or November, for implementation before the end of the year. It now remains to convince all the Member States of the need for these actions.


(article published in Ouest-France on September 20)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).