By AVA KHAVARI, with BROOKS TIGNER
Brussels – The EU approved on 26 June the final revisions to the its Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) action plan. Initially drawn up in December 2014, it addressed global maritime risks and threats, including cross-border and organised crime, threats to freedom of navigation, unregulated fishing, environmental degradation and other problems.
The “EUMSS Mark II” will promote “international cooperation, maritime multilateralism and the rule of law at sea”, said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief.
The revisions focus on a multi-sector approach based on stronger civil-military cooperation, maritime multilateralism and other goals. It is designed to work in conjunction with the EU’s Global Strategy and the European Commission November 2016 defence action plan to deal with security threats ranging from piracy and terrorism to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
The Upshot: The plan’s thrust is ambitious but whether its execution will match that is a very open question. For example, the EU’s multi-stakeholder platform for generating maritime situational awareness across public actors, known as “CISE” (common information sharing environment), has not taken off as planned. Frontex has yet to gear up, via its bigger budget and mandate, for taking on much wider border responsibilities and still owns very few assets of its own. There is little solidarity among EU member states about maritime issues such as migration and, finally, EU-NATO cooperation at sea is still in its infancy.
The EUMSS will move very slowly because of the complexity of the policy obstacles it has to overcome.