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More resources and cooperation in the fight against piracy, asks the Parliament

(BRUSSELS2) The fight against piracy and its causes must constitute “a priority for EU action”. This is the essential meaning of the draft resolution to be voted on this afternoon (May 10) by the European Parliament meeting in plenary session (*). This is not a theoretical priority. The European Union has a "real interest", he stresses, in contributing to international maritime security: 10 European ships cross dangerous maritime areas each year - believe the parliamentarians - not to mention the hostages and ships in the hands pirates.

  • NB: this project is the result of a joint resolution between the main political groups in Parliament (EPP Christian Democrats, S&D Social Democrats, ALDE Liberals and Democrats and ECR Conservatives). It is the result of an initiative by the deputies of the Transport Committee: the Greek Georgios Koumoutsakos (New Democracy / EPP), the Belgian Saïd El Khadraoui (SPA / S&D), the Basque nationalist, former municipal councilor of Bermeo, one of the ports of origin of the Basque fishermen in the ocean, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Basque Nationalist Party / ALDE), and the Dutchman Peter van Dalen (ChristenUnie / ECR). Note that Greens and Gue did not join this resolution asking for amendments, in particular to worry about the militarization of the fight against piracy.

Free the hostages

MEPs are also asking the High Representative and the Member States " to urgently consider" ways to secure the release of the (191) sailors currently being held hostage and, " at the same time, to ensure the return of the seven hijacked ships”. He also asks " urge member states to provide more naval assets” to ensure the success of Operation Atalanta.

The impunity of pirates worries

" There the persistence of impunity for acts of piracy constitutes an obstacle to deterrence”. Parliament regrets that some EU Member States have inadequate criminal law safeguards ". It asks States that have not yet done so to transpose international instruments (Montego Bay Convention and Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation). However, he is above all in favor of a judgment in the countries of the region.

It therefore asks the Council and the Commission to " continue to explore the possibilities of trials in the countries of the region and to work towards the establishment of a special international tribunal for the fight against piracy in Somalia and in the other States of the region”. The fight against the laundering of the sums collected by pirates is also necessary, he explains.

For a European strategy for the employment of private guards

The employment of private armed guards constitutes a measure that cannot substitute for the necessary comprehensive resolution of the multi-faceted threat posed by piracy. underlines the Parliament. Some countries have already legislated on the matter, the Parliament in takes note but asks the Commission and the Council to define a European Union strategy on the use of approved armed personnel on board to ensure proper implementation of the initiatives of the International Maritime Organization ».

The European operations of PeSDC

More resources for the EUNAVFOR mission

The anti-piracy mission exists. And the European Parliament welcomes this. He also asks EUNAVFOR to take more active action, to respond " effectively " to the increased use of merchant ships like "supply ships". He thinks calls for "further coordination, under the SHADE mechanism, between the European Union, NATO, the three main counter-piracy operations in the region (EUNAVFOR, CTF?150/151 and TF?508 NATO Ocean Shield) and the various international naval forces « in order to avoid any duplication useless ».

And more cooperation

He also wishes for a better cooperation with Europol and Interpol as well as with the European Maritime Safety Agency. Member States should authorize (the Agency) to provide the data (LRIT remote identification and tracking) accurate and satellite images (vessels flying the flag of the European Union) who cross in this area at EUNAVFOR ».

Review command rules

With the establishment of the Ops Center for the Horn of Africa, Parliament considers that certain command arrangements for EUNAVFOR Atalanta and EUTM Somalia operations are obsolete. He therefore asks: a revision of the command arrangements that currently govern EUNAVFOR Atalanta and EUTM Somalia operations”.

Maritime capabilities of the region, patrol boats, sub

It is necessary " do everything » so that the "Eucap Nestor" mission to strengthen regional maritime capacities "be deployed next summer in this region underlines the resolution (read also: 3,5 PeSDC missions in the starting blocks). But training is not everything. States should also provide substantial assistance to the mission and to the region, in particular with maritime patrol boats ».

This mission complements other actions carried out by the Commission, in particular the Marsic project aimed at securing important maritime routes. And the Mase project, led by the countries of eastern and southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, a project to which Parliament wants the European Union to allocate a start-up grant » of 2 million euros.

Draft resolution in the B2 docs

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).