The European Union’s new naval force deployment in the Mediterranean, EUNAVFOR MED, has drawn criticism from international partners and the general public alike, because plans for a “boat sinking” operation raise fears about unacceptable levels of violence and collateral damage.
In this CEPS Commentary Giovanni Faleg and Steven Blockmans argue that despite clumsy public diplomacy and EUNAVFOR MED's perilous mismatch between its stated objectives and the absence of a clear strategy and mandate, the naval force could nevertheless mark an important turning point in the EU’s security narrative. EUNAVFOR MED means that the Union is finally addressing the threats to security and the humanitarian tragedies in its southern neighbourhood.
Giovanni Faleg is Associate Researcher in EU Foreign Policy at CEPS and Consultant of the World Bank Group. Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit at CEPS.