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German soldiers aboard merchant ships: difficult

Embedded team element (Credit: Bundeswehr)

The Bundestag's lawyers have given a rather negative opinion on the use of armed force on board merchant ships to protect them from pirates. The systematic protection of armed forces on board merchant ships is not covered by the European operation, they believe. “ To enable such protection, a unanimous decision of the Council of the European Union would be necessary”, reports the German economic weekly, Wirtschaft Woche, who had access to this document.

And on a national level, outside the EU mandate, it seems even more complicated. According to Bundestag lawyers, the protection of merchant ships flying the German flag “ is not a subject of national defense, as defined in Article 87a of the Basic Law ". For merchant ships do not, as such, " part of the territory of the flag State. Only certain elements fall under the jurisdiction of the flag state flag ».

NB: As for the protection of German ships which do not fly the German flag (such as that of the Mv Beluga Nomination), it cannot be the responsibility of the Bundeswehr

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).