Reaction from Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST) to David Cameron’s speech earlier today setting out his four objectives for reforming the UK’s membership of the EU, where for the first time yesterday Downing Street mentioned national security and Europe’s response to piracy in the Indian Ocean as part of the Brexit debate:
Gerry Northwood, former Royal Navy counter-piracy commander and COO of MAST, a leading global maritime security provider, said: “EUNAVFOR is a uniquely European style solution to the problem of countering piracy in the Indian Ocean. While some of the initial drive came from narrow individual member state interests, the collegiate approach taken by the EU political and military leadership – vigorously supported by the UK as the lead member state – ensured that it developed into a consensus driven mission which was able to accommodate high ideals of ethics, focussed leadership and operational rigour.
“Having the opportunity to lead the operation within the EU framework permitted the UK to successfully espouse support for International law and National laws as appropriate to combat a criminal threat which was having a significant global impact.
“The EU framework gave the mission the status and gravitas it could never have had as a solely national endeavour and gave it the necessary reach across the shipping industry. It was also able to gain the buy in of those nations that wanted to stand out and go it alone. EUNAVFOR is a fine example of what the EU can jointly achieve for the common good through collective action buttressed by individual member state resolve and expertise.”
- EUNAVFOR stands for the European Union Naval Force and Operation Atlanta against Somali piracy.
- National missions mounted by China, India, Russia etc., were committed to protecting their own flag state vessels only but over time their convoys have included protection to vessels from other flag states. In this respect Europe has led the way in recognising the international nature of the shipping industry and having the prescience to realise that for the mission to be successful, it had to provide a lead to international organisations like the IMB and IMO, and industry bodies such as BIMCO, Intertanko etc.
David Cameron links EU membership to national security – Financial Times, 10/11/2015
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