News Blogmaritime piracy

EUNAVFOR in Japanese, that's it… And long live the pirates!

(B2) Mainichi Shimbun, Japanese daily, asked me (through its correspondent in Brussels) to write for its weekly supplement, Global Eye, on the EUNAVFOR Atalanta military operation. The article has just been published (download here). This request was a real gamble: to explain the European context for an audience of which I do not
who do not know the expectations at all and who perhaps does not know all the complexities of our European “community”. But it was interesting because it demonstrates, coming from Japan, how what Europe does can produce changes in states of mind.

Beyond the aspects that we all know about the operation, its issues, its difficulties, its challenges – which I have already described – this article gave me the idea of ​​listing all the changes in strategy that involve , or what this anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden allows.

1) Operational reconciliations that the policy may prima facie prohibit.

I had already mentioned, on this blog, the Russian-American rapprochements that have taken place, although both had been rather at odds since the conflict in Georgia. Likewise, we can also note that the commitment of a Greek ship in the EUNAVFOR operation and now of a Turkish ship in the American coalition operation (CTF-151) could encourage some “impromptu” joint operations then that the climate between the two countries sometimes remains punctuated by various incidents (flights over areas recognized as territorial by some but not by others).

2) geopolitical advances.

For some countries – the Russia, China… this allows us to reintegrate the “concert of nations” smoothly. It could also be the prelude (or not) to a coalition of another nature (USA-Russia-China) on Iran. At least that's what the people hope Americans. It is also for these countries – as for others (Japan, India, France, etc.) – the means of asserting their presence in a globally strategic area, a stone's throw from Iran, 'Iraq, Yemen, important oil zones...

3) Small steps towards commitment military most important

In this sense, the commitment of the German navy, in a more offensive operation, is not trivial. This is one more step, very measured, towards abandoning cautious commitment (I will come back to this). It is the same for theswiss ad of its participation in EUNAVFOR, which also allows the Swiss confederation to have the opportunity to review its law on external operations abroad. As for Japan, too, this is something new, a way of breaking with a certain neutrality, even if the commitment remains limited and under the cover of maritime police...

So I would say, with a little irony: fortunately the pirates are there; otherwise we would have had to invent them!


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).