01 July 2013

EU navy mission Atalanta going into its 6th year

Hamburg airport proud on hamburgs Piracy background

The German parliament recently voted to extend the mandate for the EU navy mission Atalanta for another year until May 2014. Up to 1400 soldiers can be deployed under this operation. This includes the mandate for air strikes up to 2km inland, which was introduced last year.

During the debate, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described the “real reason” for Atalanta as “We want to help the people.” A year earlier, he was a little more blunt, when he said in an interview: “Pursuing our economic interests, including pursuing our interests in resources, must be part of our strategic planning. I am surprised that the deployment of soldiers to combat piracy, which I support, has been portrayed as morally not justifiable by some members of parliament.”

Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière pointed out another aspect of Atalanta as the EU’s first combined military involvement, when he linked it to an upcoming EU security conference in December. He also suggested that Atalanta and the NATO mission Ocean Shield should be joined.