We note that Frontex and NATO reached yesterday a common understanding on the modalities of their cooperation in the Aegean Sea.
In accordance with a EU press release, these operational modalities will maximise the effectiveness, ensure consistency and complementarity of the FRONTEX operation “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” in the area and the efforts of NATO’s support activities.
“The decision of NATO to assist in the conduct of reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings in the Aegean Sea is an important contribution to international efforts to tackle smuggling and irregular migration in the Aegean Sea in the context of the refugee crisis”.
Today’s common understanding is another example of the relevance of EU-NATO practical cooperation, already present in many crisis theatres. The EU, in facts, officially declared its trusts that its joint efforts with NATO will contribute to address the many challenges raised by the current migration crisis, and reduce the dangers of irregular crossings in the Aegean Sea.
On the other hand, NATO ships are already collecting information and conducting monitoring in the Aegean sea. Their activity will now be expanded to take place also in territorial waters.
Employed naval commanders have defined the area of activity in close consultation and coordination with both Greece and Turkey Authorities, also for access in their respective national waters.
The purpose of NATO’s deployment is not to stop or push back migrant boats, but to help Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union, in their efforts to tackle human trafficking and the criminal networks that are fueling this crisis.
NATO’s Maritime Command has also agreed with FRONTEX on arrangements at the operational and tactical level. NATO and FRONTEX will be able to exchange liaison officers and share information in real time, to enable FRONTEX, as well as Greece and Turkey, to take action in real time.
This is an excellent example of how NATO and the EU can work together to address common challenges. Europeanaffairs.media also praises the quickness and the rapidity of this joint decision and believes that in facing the crisis, “time is the essence, and cooperation is key”.