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Fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
On 23 April 2013, the EU Institute for Security Studies, together with the European External Action Service, organised a seminar entitled ‘Fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea – offshore and onshore’. Held in Brussels, the seminar was attended by some 60 policymakers (mainly from EU institutions and member states) and other experts. It addressed the challenges of piracy and crime at sea as well as the broader challenges to security, governance and development within the region. Participants also debated the comparison with and potential ‘lessons learned’ from fighting piracy in the Horn of Africa/Gulf of Aden.
Participants agreed that the issue of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming increasingly important, and is worthy of greater attention in the run-up to the Joint Europe-Africa Strategy Summit of 2014 and in view of EU plans for developing a regional strategy there.
Most of the attacks in the Gulf of Guinea target vessels connected to the oil industry, but they also disrupt trade and business in the region as a whole. It was argued that both the symptoms and the root causes of piracy need to be addressed by the international community, possibly within a regional scope that brings the institutions ECCAS and ECOWAS to work together.