The social partners of the maritime transport sector, ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Associations) and ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation), have issued a joint statement ahead of the EU-Africa summit, which takes place in Brussels from 02 to 03 April.
ECSA and ETF seize this opportunity to highlight one of the major issues in the EU-Africa relations, namely that of piracy and armed robbery, two phenomena that plague some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
“Piracy and armed robbery should be part of the discussion between EU and African leaders, as the problem is shared by both sides and, more importantly, its more permanent solution can only be achieved through common initiatives and efforts from both partners,” commented Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General.
More specifically, ECSA and ETF call upon the EU Member States to uphold their commitment to fight Somalia-based piracy by maintaining an adequate level of force generation and supply the EU’s naval force in the region (EU NAVFOR) with sufficient resources to effectively patrol the area of operations.
As for piracy and armed robbery incidents in the gulf of Guinea in West Africa, the social partners urge Member States to use diplomacy, political dialogue but also the sharing of best practice and technical assistance so as to develop solid cooperation with African coastal states in the region and fight against these unlawful acts.
The EU has spearheaded efforts to tackle maritime piracy since the emergence of this problem in the mid-2000s. It now finds itself in a position of even greater influence by having assumed since January the chairmanship of the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).
“I sincerely hope that the EU will use its special weight and extensive experience in its talks with African leaders” remarked Patrick Verhoeven and added: “A far-reaching and all-encompassing solution to this problem that jeopardises the global supply chain is long overdue.”
ECSA, April 2, 2014