The EU is strengthening its cooperation and coordination efforts in the Gulf of Guinea. On 7 April, the first ever Joint Event on Strengthening Nigeria – EU Cooperation on Maritime Security was held in Lagos at the Nigerian Navy’s Western Naval Command (WNC). The event was attended by the EU Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea Nicolás Berlanga, who described the relationship between Nigeria and the EU as an unavoidable partnership. He also stated that the EU wished to use the event to demonstrate to the Nigerian Navy how the EU could be more effective in supporting the country’s efforts. At the same time, the naval assets of Italy and Spain at port in Lagos, organised a high profile exercise in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, under the framework of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP). Nigeria’s Chief of naval Staff said the significance of the event was underscored by the fact that it came at a time that the government had committed itself to the sustainable development of the country’s blue economy.
The event solidified the close partnership that has developed between the Nigerian Navy, the European Union and EU Member States operating in the region. An intensified presence at sea coupled with the collaborative efforts made by coastal countries and the support of the EU, have all played their part in deterring piracy events in the Gulf of Guinea. However, it is also acknowledged there is a need to further deepen relations through continued cooperation with the aim of ensuring freedom of navigation, safety of seafarers, protection of regional resources and coastal communities.
The EU Senior Coordinator for the GoG, other high and senior officials of the EEAS and other Commission services are constantly engaged in political dialogue as well as targeted strategic communication events to raise awareness on issues of strategic priority for the EU. Key stakeholders include EU Delegations, EU Member States, coastal states, GGC, ECOWAS and ECCAS, MOWCA, African Union, IMO and the private sector.