The European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta has been extended for another two years, until December 31 2022.
The mandate also includes some new tasks effective from January 1, 2021 which reinforce Atalanta’s role as a maritime security provider in the area and builds on its current success in countering piracy and protecting vessels.
New non-executive tasks such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as drugs, weapons and charcoal trafficking will be implemented from January, whilst preparing for the formalization of the executive tasks regarding illegal drugs and weapons trafficking, which will be enforced in a specific area of the Gulf of Aden, once the decision to activate these tasks is taken by the appropriate EU authorities.
These adjustments will increase the operation’s maritime domain awareness, resulting in a more efficient counterpiracy mission and reinforcing EU NAVFOR´s role as a maritime security provider in line with the objectives of the European Union’s Maritime Security Strategy.
The decision to extend Atalanta’s mandate was taken based on a holistic and coordinated strategic review of security and defense engagement in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, with the aim to consolidate and strengthen the EU response by further developing the security context and enhancing its role as a security provider.