The Council has extended the EU‚Äôs counter-piracy Operation Atalanta by two more years, until¬†12 December 2016. The Operation‚Äôs main focus is the protection of World Food Programme¬†vessels delivering humanitarian aid to Somalia; and the deterrence, repression and disruption of¬†piracy off the Somali coast. In addition, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing¬†activities off the coast of Somalia.
Despite the significant progress that has been achieved off the coast of Somalia since the¬†operation was launched in 2008, it is widely recognised that the threat from piracy remains; the¬†pirate business model is fractured but not broken. The Council has therefore added certain¬†secondary tasks to the Operation‚Äôs mandate. EU Naval Force will now contribute, within existing¬†means and capabilities, more widely to the EU‚Äôs comprehensive approach to Somalia, including in¬†support of the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa. It will also be able to contribute to¬†other relevant international community activities helping to address the root causes of piracy in¬†Somalia.
In this respect, the operation could, for example, provide logistical support, expertise or training at¬†sea for other EU actors, in particular the EU mission on regional maritime capacity building¬†(EUCAP NESTOR). In addition, Operation Atalanta can also support the EU Training Mission¬†(EUTM) Somalia.
‚ÄúEU Operation Atalanta has considerably helped in reducing piracy off the Somali coast. We must¬†maintain the pressure on pirates to help ensuring security in the Horn of Africa. This is in our¬†mutual interest‚Äù, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica¬†Mogherini said. ‚ÄúThe EU Naval Force will now also contribute to addressing the root causes of¬†piracy,‚Äù she added.
The common costs of EU Naval Force for the two years 2015 and 2016 are estimated at¬†‚Ç¨14.7 million. The operation is currently commanded by Major General Martin Smith MBE of the¬†UK Royal Marines. Together with 21 EU member states, two non-EU countries currently contribute¬†to Operation Atalanta.