Blog AnalysisMediterranean seaMissions Operations

Spain ready to put a ship in Operation Sophia within 14 days

(B2) Operation Sophia must continue, stressed Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles on Tuesday (December 17) during a trip to Sigonella (Sicily) to visit the Spanish air detachment

Mr. Robles visiting the Sigonella base where a Vigma D4 maritime surveillance aircraft is stationed for Operation Sophia (credit: MOD Espanol)

A strategic operation for Spain

The interest of this operation intended to combat trafficking (human beings, weapons, oil) in the central Mediterranean (opposite the Libyan coast) is “ essential ". The Mediterranean Sea is strategic » (1). Spain wanted the operation to return a naval presence to its previous state, with an asserted naval presence. Madrid is also one of the countries (along with Italy) ready “ within 14 days » to make a vessel available for the operation.

Five States participating in the operation

If 26 Member States are participating in the operation today, it is mainly by providing officers to the Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Rome. In fact, only five countries are directly involved with military and air means: Luxembourg, Poland, France, Italy and Spain.

Today the Spanish Air Force provides a maritime patrol aircraft — a Vigma D-4 from squadron 803, based at Getafe air base — and a detachment of 38 Spanish soldiers (pilots, mechanics, support ). Spain also has eight military personnel at the headquarters in Rome and three others in support of the headquarters of the Naval Force in Rota (Cádiz).

No change in the external engagement policy with Podemos

As for " the entry into government of Podemos », belonging to a left known to be hostile to the Atlantic Alliance, she “ will not affect Spain's role in NATO in any way » according to the daily El Mundo. " These are state policies that are not at the mercy of certain changes of government »? Spain “as a country [has a] solid engagement” with its international allies, she added, referring to the latest approved external operations plan.

(NGV)

  1. Download the press release in Spanish ou English

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).