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European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR) EMF

European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR) is a multinational maritime force created in 1995 by four nations, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, seeking its employment in humanitarian, peacekeeping and crisis management missions, under the principles of the Petersberg Declaration, either autonomously or in the framework of the European Union or other international organizations such as the UN, NATO, OSCE or even multinational coalitions.

EUROMARFOR is a naval force organised by France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It is non-permanent but pre-structured and can be activated on request, in a mission-ready format, selected from an up-to-date list of vessels. The list includes an aircraft carrier (in principle supplied by the lead nation), an amphibious force, submarines and escort frigates, naval patrol aircraft and mine hunters.

EUROMARFOR was born in 1995 when France, Italy, Portugal and Spain agreed to create a tailored force in order to fulfill missions defined in the Petersberg's Declaration, such as sea control, humanitarian missions, peacekeeping operations, crisis response operations (pre-emptive deployment, maritime patrolling, mine clearing, etc) and peace enforcement.

Over thirty force activations, more than three years deployed in Real World Operations, numerous exercises and other activities highlighting the cooperation among Mediterranean Countries are clear evidences of the relevance of its validity as a naval tool characterized by flexibility, readiness and effectiveness in response to emerging maritime world challenges, ranging from conflict prevention and control to humanitarian assistance, always minded towards a safer world marked by peace and stability. EUROMARFOR foundations are anchored back in June 1992, when the Petersberg's Declaration, with its associated missions, was signed by the ministers of foreign affairs from the European Union (EU) nations.

After a process of consultation that started in 1993, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal demonstrated their willingness to contribute to the accomplishment of such missions by signing on May 15th 1995 the declaration of Lisbon, that formally created the EUROFORCES (with the maritime component as EUROMARFOR and the land component EUROFOR).

Upon its creation in 1995 the EMF grew fast and as a successful project. EUROMARFOR was activated on 14 occasions between April 1996 and February 2003, to take part in major exercises, in particular NATO exercises, and fact-finding missions to both the Maghreb countries and Northern Europe. In 2001 naval officers from Greece and Turkey joined the EUROMARFOR as observers showing the intentness of these two countries to became permanent members of the EMF. The periods at sea in operations and exercises were increasing every year and amongst several important missions accomplished the EMF (despite being a recent organisation) was deployed during this period in to 2 Real World Operations (RWO).

The first one was Operation Coherent Behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean. Operation “Coherent Behaviour” was a surveillance mission relating to illegal drug trafficking and counter-terrorism. This operation, the first autonomous operation of EMF history, was done under the 4 EUROMARFOR Nations mandate. In Coherent Behaviour EMF was working in close coordination with the NATO authorities, in the same area of Operation Active Endeavour and for the same purpose (performing a mission of Intelligence gathering, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) from October to November 2002.

On completion of this first RWO other challenge was accepted by the EMF and the force was once again committed to a new RWO supporting the International Coalition in the Indian Ocean in the Operation Enduring Freedom. Under the nick name of Operation Resolute Behaviour the EMF took part from January 2003 to December 2005 and took over the command of the operation in alternate periods performing a total of 1 year commanding the Task Force in the area. This mission for its duration and area of operations was a major effort and a demonstration of the strong commitment of EMF nations to fight side by side with the international community in the global war against the terrorism. At the same time, this operation was the final step to make EMF a well-known and mature force and to demonstrate its ability to operate and command operations anywhere around the world.

During this initial period, not only through RWO but also through a challenging schedule of exercises, EMF Tours ( to show the flag and exercise with other countries navies) and Cooperation Exercises with the South Mediterranean Countries, EMF visibility and international recognition were growing significantly.

Recently, EUROMARFOR was deployed under the aegis of the United Nations, for Impartial Behaviour Operation, leading (as CTF 448) the Maritime Task Force (MTF) UNIFIL for one year period, from March 2008 to February 2009. This RWO deployment showed once again EMF flexibility and ability to work under aegis of different organisations. Impartial Behaviour Operation was an historic deployment because was the first time in history that UN was leading a Maritime Operation and also because EMF was for the first time deployed under the UN aegis.

Since its creation, EUROMARFOR has been present in 3 Real World Operations and has been activated for a total of 43 months. In 2010 EUROMARFOR was activated for Portuguese exercise "Swordfish 10" and also for a double participation in French exercise "Olives Noires 10" and the "Multicooperative Exercise 10" with the Navy of Morocco that took place northwest of Casablanca.

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Page last modified: 10-01-2012 19:23:41 ZULU