Giulia Mantini, A EU Naval Mission Without a Navy: The Paradox of Operation Sophia, IAI Commentaries, 19:33, IAI, May 2019.
The recent European Council decision to renew the mandate of the EU’s maritime mission in the Mediterranean – EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia – while at the same time withdrawing its naval assets constitutes a paradox that reflects the political cynicism of EU member states, which are content to strike an agreement undermining the Union’s operational capabilities in order to protect their narrow interests at home. EU leaders agreed that the operation would be renewed for another six months but deprived of naval assets, while air surveillance capabilities would be strengthened instead. This was deemed an agreeable compromise for EU leaders, irrespective of the human costs and reputational damage associated with this decision.
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