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The force protection agreement that the EU will sign with Somalia

(B2)The EU Council should quickly formally approve the force protection agreement in Somalia as part of the EU NAVFOR “Atalanta” anti-piracy military operation in the Gulf of Aden. A typical agreement in this type of military intervention situation. With one nuance. This agreement gives, in fact, wide (or even total) latitude to Europeans in the country.

There are indeed classic provisions for EUNAVFOR members:

Compliance with laws and regulations, neutrality (article 2): EUNAVFOR and its personnel “respect the laws and regulations of the host State and refrain from any action or activity incompatible with the objectives of the operation”. It informs the Somali government of any “stopovers at ports”.

Login (article 3): compulsory wearing of the military identity card + distinctive Eunavfor mark and right to display the European dreapu and distinctive signs…

Freedom of movement (article 4): exemption from visa and other immigration formalities and customs control upon entry into the territory (same principle for equipment), authorization to drive vehicles with national, international or military license, freedom of travel also including stopping and anchoring in territorial waters, exercise or maneuvers with weapons, right for submarines not to navigate on the surface, use of roads, ports, etc. without fees or taxes, except for “reasonable amounts”, etc.

Privileges and immunities of EUNAVFOR (article 5): inviolability of ships and aircraft (no possibility of search, requisition, etc.) and archives, immunity from jurisdiction for materials, secrecy of correspondence, tax exemption and other taxes

When it comes to other issues, the protection afforded to Europeans is particularly broad. Especially when we think of the agreements made with Chad for example.

staff privileges and immunities of EUNAVFOR (article 6): once again classic provisions such as: inviolability of documents and correspondence, no obligation to give testimony, tax exemption and taxes… But the character of certain provisions is particularly reinforced: “no form” of arrest or detention, immunity from criminal and civil jurisdiction “in all circumstances”.

claims for compensation in the event of damage to a third party – death, injury, damage, loss (article 13): this is one of the points (the point) where Europeans have obtained the most rights. With minimal liability and compensation procedures. “EUNAVFOR and its personnel “cannot be held responsible for the deterioration of civil or public property arising from operational imperatives or activities linked to civil unrest or the protection of EUNAVFOR”. Claims for compensation are settled “through diplomatic channels”. There is therefore no amicable dispute settlement procedure like in Chad. Additional clarification: If legal action is initiated in the context of damage caused to third parties, it is the “Republic of Somalia which appears in place of EUNAVFOR. In all cases, the Republic of Somalia pays any compensation due as reparation for damage caused to third parties other than those (operational imperatives). If this compensation is attributable to EUNAVFOR, it will reimburse the amount in full or in part.”


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).