Operation Atalanta Commander Attends Chiefs of Defence Meeting in Brussels 21/05/2019May 23, 2019 - 14:57
On his way to Djibouti to meet with High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini this week, EU NAVFOR OpCmdr. Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave stopped in Brussels for the Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) meeting.
Also while in Brussels, R. Adm. Martorell Lacave participated in bilateral meetings with European Union delegations of Ireland, Montenegro and South Korea to discuss topics related to EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta. Bilateral meetings are key in improving relationships and collaboration between EU NAVFOR and regional states, multinational operations and other national contributions and efforts.
Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) Meeting
The Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), General Claudio Graziano met with the Chiefs of Defence in Brussels on 21 May to discuss a number of European Union Defence issues. Some of the topics discussed in the meeting included EU-NATO cooperation, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CDSP), the military dimension of the Single European Sky and capabilities and financial instruments. The EU Chiefs of Defence also were updated on the outcome of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) trial run and the state of play of the European Defence Fund, the EU Defence Industrial Development Programme and the European Peace Facility.
In his speech at the CHOD meeting, OpCmdr. Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave spoke of Operation Atalanta’s recent transfer of command and change of headquarters.
“The relocation was a fascinating endeavour as there was no CSDP rulebook we could follow in this regard,” said R. Adm. Martorell Lacave. “Transferring Authority from one site (OHQ in Northwood, UK) to two different sites (OHQ in Rota, Spain and and Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa in Brest, France), in two different countries all in a running operation was a rather complex process.”
However, R. Adm. Martorell Lacave stressed that no operational capability was sacrificed over the course of these changes. Every move was strategically planned to encourage continuity of the operation.
“Operationally, we positioned the force close to the coast, conducting focused operations in front of well-known pirate areas to increase the deterrent effects of “cold steel,” he said. “We are also interacting with Somali forces in order to counter any potential misled-understanding that the transfer of authority might impact on operational capability.”
The Foreseeable Future of Op. Atalanta
As for the future of Operation Atalanta, R. Adm. Martorell Lacave said at the CHOD meeting that the decision to terminate, continue or adapt Operation Atalanta’s mandate must be seen in the context of the cemented, essential role EU NAVFOR Somalia plays in maintaining maritime security in the key region of the Horn of Africa.
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