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European Maritime Force

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Title: European Maritime Force  
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Subject: European Gendarmerie Force, Military of the European Union, Portuguese Joint Command and Staff College, Indonesia–European Union relations, Mexico–European Union relations
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European Maritime Force

Active 1995–present
Country  EU
Branch Navy
Type Rapid reaction force
Part of European Union Military Staff
Motto At Sea for Peace

The European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR or EMF) is a non-standing,[1] multinational military force.[2] EUROMARFOR has the ability to carry out naval, air and amphibious operations.[3]

The force was formed in 1995 to fulfill missions defined in the Petersberg Declaration, such as sea control, humanitarian missions, peacekeeping operations, crisis response operations, and peace enforcement. Now, European Maritime Force composed of personnel of some states of European Union: France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Dedicated in priority to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or any other multinational coalition.

EUROMARFOR can be activated within 5 days once an activation order is received.

The Organization

The High Level Inter-Ministerial Committee (CIMIN) is at the top level of EMF organization. The body is composed by Chiefs of Defence (CHOD), Political Head Directorates of Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries and credited representatives of participating nations. The CIMIN ensures the politico-military direction of the participating countries establishes the conditions for the employment of the force and issues directives to COMEUROMARFOR. CIMIN meetings are convoked when necessary, at the request of any of the member states.

The Politico-Military Working Group (POLMIL WG) is the executive body of CIMIN. The POLMIL WG is composed by the representatives from the CHOD's and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the member countries. It takes care of all the activities related to the development and external relations of the Force and ensures the implementation of the CIMIN decisions. The POLMIL WG also appoints a Staff of the EMF countries to act as CIMIN Secretariat, for the conduct of its daily activities and to act as the permanent interlocutor of the CEMF.

Under the POLMIL WG, is the EUROMARFOR Sub working group (EMF SWG). EMF SWG is composed by representatives from each one of the Nation's Naval General Staffs mainly to advice the POLMIL WG on specific Naval issues and to express the single National Naval Staff's view on specific issues of own competence and co-ordinate positions and actions to be taken.

At the operational level of the chain of command, there is the Commander of the European Maritime Force (CEMF) or COMEUROMARFOR, who is designated every two years among the National Naval Authorities (NNAs) entities namely:

  • Commandant de la Force d’Action Navale (ALFAN)
  • Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale (CINCNAV)
  • Comandante Naval (COMNAV)
  • Almirante de la Flota (ALFLOT)

The CEMF relies both on his own existing National Staff and the EMF Permanent Cell (EMFPC) for the accomplishment of the assigned duties. The EMF is composed by Director who is an Officer of the same nationality as the CEMF and four representatives (Commanders or Lieutenant Commanders), one from each EMF Nation. Additionally, since November 2001 one Officer from Greece and one from Turkey joined the permanent cell as observers.

Activation of the Force

Considering the wide range of missions the force may be in charge with, its composition and size cannot be defined in advance. In fact, the force will not be established on a permanent basis, but will be assembled on a case-by-case basis and tailored to the mission. It will be built up amongst the capabilities made available by the participating nations, the most suitable ones for the operation to be conducted. The size of EMF may range from a small Task Group to a large Task Force including carrier and amphibious groups, escorts and support vessels. Furthermore, maritime patrol aircraft, mine countermeasure units, submarines or other types of naval units could be employed, depending on the mission and the relating tasks to fulfil. From the moment when the member nations take the decision to intervene in a crisis by employing the EMF, the CIMIN directs COMEUROMARFOR to activate the force. After consultation with the CIMIN, CEMF and national authorities, participating nations define the volume and nature of their involvement. Subsequently, they assign units to EMF. COMEUROMARFOR assembles the assigned units and gets their operational control as required.

Historical data

In June 1992, with the Petersberg Declaration, the WEU began the process of revising its structure to adapt itself to a changing world and for this reason to update the list of potential missions that could be assumed. Consequently it was the requirement to identify the Forces necessary to carry out the new missions that came into force. The governments of the four nations that were later to establish the EMF, were very quick to process and assess the importance of the message sent with the Petersberg Declaration. In fact, as soon as the following September, during a meeting of ministers, they stated their willingness to create a Multinational Maritime Force. This was the starting point of the work that would later lead to the signing of the EUROMARFOR Constitutive document in Lisbon on 15 May 1995. On 2 October 1995, with the appointment of the Spanish Admiral ACEDO MANTEOLA (then ALFLOT) as the first COMEUROMARFOR (CEMF), the existence of the Force was finally materialised.

The feasibility and flexibility of the Force was proven by its first activation, during exercise EOLO 96 (April 96), after only one year from the signing of the Constitutive Document and less than six months after the first COMEUROMARFOR assumed Command. In 2001, two (2) officers from Greece and Turkey respectfully, integrated in the EUROMARFOR Permanent Cell as observers, highlighting the willingness of these Nations to become full members.

As the years were passing by, more and more time was spending at sea in Operations or Exercises. During this period, the force activated several times for involving in the so-called “Real World Operations – RWO”

The first was Operation Coherent Behaviour in eastern Mediterranean in 2002. This Operation was the first autonomous Operation in the EMF’s history and was carried out in the frame of a mandate which had been directly given by the four (4) EMF Nations. During this Operation, EMF was in close cooperation with NATO in the frame of Operation Active Endeavor.

Upon the completion of this first participation in RWO, another challenge was taken up by EMF and the force activated to take part in a new RWO. Thus, in 2003, EMF took part in Operation Resolute Behaviour in Indian Ocean in support of the an international coalition’s Operation “Enduring Freedom” and gradually embedded into it between 2003 and 2005. The participation of EMF in an Operation like this, demonstrated the EMF Nations cohesion and determination and their commitment to fight together with the international community against terrorism.

During this period, by the participation in RWO but also through a demanding program of co operational exercises with the countries of South Mediterranean, the visibility and the international recognition of EMF were increased significantly. EUROMARFOR participated also in Operation UNIFIL between 2008 and 2009, under the aegis of UN. During this activation, the EMF at sea Commander acted as CTF 448. Once again EMF demonstrated its flexibility and its capacity of acting under the aegis of a different Organization. In fact it was a historical milestone not only for EMF, but even for the UN, because it was the first UN direct Operation.

The latest activation of EMF, in order to participate in the EU’s Operation ATALANTA in Indian Ocean, took place in December 2011. This activation lasted for 20 months and ended in August 2013. In December 2013, the force reactivated for participating in the same Operation once again.

From its foundation, EMF, has been activated for a total period of 62 months for participation in RWO.

Historical milestones

19 June 1992 Petersberg Declaration. The concept for Forces answerable to the WEU is established.
28 October 1993 Ministers meeting in Grosseto (Italy). The wish to create a Multinational Maritime Force is stated.
15 May 1995 Lisbon Conference, official signing of the EMF Constitutive Document.
2 October 1995 Appointment in Rota of Admiral ACEDO MANTEOLA (ALFLOT) as first CEMF.
23 April 1996 1st Activation of the Force to participate in the Partners exercise EOLO and for a Port Visit in La Valletta (Malta).
1 October – 30 November 2002 First activation for an Operation: COHERENT BEHAVIOUR, in the Eastern Mediterranean
14 January 2003 – 12 December 2005 Second activation for an Operation: RESOLUTE BEHAVIOUR, in the framework of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, in the Indian Ocean.
26–30 November 2007 18th Activation for EMF onboard ITS ESPERO in Oran harbour, to participate in Multi-Cooperative Exercise "MCE 07" with the Algerian Navy, off the Oran/Algeria coast. Port visit to Oran.
29 February 2008 – 28 February 2009 Third Activation for an Operation: EMF held UNIFIL Maritime Task Force (MTF) command responsibilities in the UN Peacekeeping Operation “IMPARTIAL BEHAVIOR” in Lebanon. 12 months of EMF leadership, for the first time under UN aegis.
23 September 2010 – 27 September 2010 EMF participated in the Exercise MCE 10 with Morocco NW of Casablanca.
6 December 2011 – 6 August 2013 Forth Activation of EUROMARFOR for participating in THE EU's Operation ATALANTA in Indian Ocean
6 December 2013 – still on going Fifth activation of EUROMARFOR for participating again in THE EU's Operation ATALANTA in Indian Ocean

Commanders of the European Maritime Force

2 October 1995 Almirante MANUEL ACEDO MANTEOLA (SP)
7 October 1996 Vice-Amiral d’Escadre PHILIPPE DURTESTE (FR)
22 October 1997 Ammiraglio di Squadra UMBERTO GUARNIERI (IT)
14 February 1998 Ammiraglio di Squadra PAOLO GIARDINI (IT)
9 October 1998 Vice-Almirante REIS RODRIGUES (PT)
14 September 2001 Ammiraglio di Squadra QUINTO GRAMELLINI (IT)
16 September 2003 Vice-Amiral d’Escadre ALAIN DUMONTET (FR)
20 September 2005 Almirante ANGEL TELLO VALERO (SP)
31 August 2006 Almirante FERNANDO ARMADA VADILLO (SP)
17 September 2007 Ammiraglio di Squadra GIUSEPPE LERTORA (IT)
29 April 2009 Ammiraglio di Squadra LUIGI BINELLI MANTELLI (IT)
15 September 2009 Vice-Almirante JOSÉ SALDANHA LOPES (PT)
28 November 2010 Vice-Almirante JOSÉ MONTEIRO MONTENEGRO (PT)
15 September 2011 Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Xavier Magne (FR)
18 September 2013 Almirante SANTIAGO BOLIBAR PIÑEIRO (SP)

See also


  1. ^ EUROMARFOR – At Sea for Peace pamphlet. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  2. ^ Biscop, Sven (2003). Euro-Mediterranean security: a search for partnership.  
  3. ^ EUROMARFOR Retrospective – Portuguese Command, page 12. Retrieved 11 March 2012.

External links

  • Official website
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