British, French ministers launch EU anti-piracy HQ
An EU anti-piracy command centre set up Thursday will better coordinate efforts in protecting Somalia's Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters.
NORTHWOOD –Britain's and France's defence ministers hailed a "good day for Europe" on Thursday, as they inaugurated an EU anti-piracy command centre outside London.
John Hutton voiced pride at hosting the headquarters of the European Union's Atalanta operation in Northwood, a British military command centre in the northwestern suburbs of London.
"It's a good day for Europe," he said, 10 years to the day after the Franco-British St. Malo declaration, named after the French city where it was agreed and seen as the founding stone of joint European defence.
"The mission here is first and foremost about dealing with the problem of piracy," said the British minister, adding: "We are very proud to be providing the operational headquarters."
From December, the EU operation will see five or six warships patrol Somalia's Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters, where increased piracy is threatening to choke one of the world's busiest sea trade routes.
Northwood is home to Britain's Permanent Joint Headquarters, coordinating joint military operations as well as serving as a command centre for British forces assigned to multinational missions.
[AFP / Expatica]