BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – The European Union agreed on Monday to launch an anti-piracy naval operation off the coast of Somalia involving warships and aircraft from several nations.
The mission, the first naval crisis-management operation ever mounted by the 27-member EU, will initially involve three warships — from Greece, Britain and France, and two maritime surveillance aircraft from France and Spain.
The naval force will be joined by a fourth ship from Germany upon approval of the mission by the German parliament, which is expected mid-month, EU officials said. Two maritime surveillance aircraft will be provided by France and Spain, they said. “This is the first maritime crisis management operation after 20 EU crisis operations since 2003,” an EU official said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, adding that the mission would last up to a year.