GGI Analysis: The Somali crisis and the EU

Georg-Sebastian Holzer and Hubertus Jürgenliemk have published a new Analysis Paper, titled 'The Somali crisis and the EU: Moving onshore and committing to Somalia'. The paper argues that a commitment to go ‘onshore’ is needed to prepare the future stability of Somalia. 

It analyses the three EU operations in Somalia in relation to the local context in the country. The focus is on the EUCAP Nestor mission that aims to build regional maritime capacity in five countries at the Horn of Africa, launched on 16 July 2012.



GGI Analysis-Somali_Crisis_and_the_EU_July2012About 90 percent of world trade is conducted via sea transport and up to 50 percent of the world’s container ships pass by the Horn of Africa. In result, Somali piracy attacks costs the global economy some USD 7 billion a year according to the One Earth Future Foundation.


The crisis in Somalia has thus become a global problem. In response, the worlds’ powers are trying to contain and defuse it. The United States, China, Russia, NATO and the European Union all patrol the Indian Ocean in one of the largest military operations currently ongoing. Thousands of navy officers on war ships are engaged off the Somali coast aiming to protect container and cargo ships. With this costly undertaking not having much effect on preventing piracy, new strategies are needed.

The Global Governance Institute takes a look at the political dynamics in Somalia and recommends to closer integrating shore and offshore-based engagement. It focuses on the European engagement with two running crisis management operations and one launched on 16 July 2012 and to be operational in the autumn. In the medium- to long-term engagement on the ground is needed.  


Piracy is a symptom of political instability in Somalia, not its cause. The revenue generated by pirates via ransom was about USD 160m in 2011, a fraction of what the international naval operations cost.


The new European EUCAP Nestor operation can be a first step in the right direction if it is the first of many steps to much stronger engagement, fostering dialogue and addressing the causes of conflict: poverty and instability within Somalia rather than merely deploying warships to patrol the Somali coast. 

'The Somali crisis and the EU: Moving onshore and committing to Somalia', GGI Analysis 5/2012 by Georg-Sebastian Holzer and Hubertus Jürgenliemk 

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