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Both agreements (Sofa, Pirates) with Seychelles approved by EU

(BRUSSELS2) Finally the 27 will have been faster than announced. Both agreements with the Seychelles – SOFA – status of forces and exchange of letters for the transfer of pirates (read terms and conditions) – were adopted immediately, without debate, this Friday, at the Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs meeting in Luxembourg (as “point A”). They will notably allow the European anti-piracy forces “Eunavor Atalanta”, whatever the nationality of the vessel concerned (1), to transfer and have suspects apprehended in the waters of the archipelago tried by the Seychellois authorities (or if a Seychellois was targeted by the attack).

The texts had, in fact, already been endorsed by the two parties concerned.. On the EU side, they were examined several times during the month of September and October by experts from the external relations group. The “good for approval” stamp had been put, in a political manner, by the ambassadors of the 27, at a meeting on October 22 (the item had been added to the Coreper agenda at the last minute). It was therefore useless to wait three more days for the meeting of Foreign Ministers. As is customary, in fact, at the level of the European Union, any text already endorsed, which does not merit additional discussion (or more solemn political momentum), can be adopted at any meeting of the Council, whatever the composition of the ministerial delegation (or even by written procedure, if there is no Council meeting planned).

The acceleration of hacker attacks required finding a legal, rational solution, quickly, to deal with the possible arrest of suspects. Just as it became necessary to formally “regularize” the presence of “Atalanta” forces (land, sea, air) in the archipelago.

(1) The Norwegian ship or any other ship or team which is not part of the EU but is an integral part of Operation Atalanta can therefore benefit from this agreement. On the other hand, a ship from an EU Member State which is under the NATO or CTF 151 flag or under the national flag cannot (theoretically) benefit from it. It could then change its flag and take that of Atalanta at the time of the capture of the pirates (this change of flag must normally take place before the seizure of the pirates).

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).