Operation Atalanta is designed to protect international shipping and fight piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In particular, ships chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme need protection, because many countries in the region depend on supplies of food aid. Germany has been involved in the EU-led operation since 2008.
Although piracy has been pushed back by the mission, individual attacks do still take place.
Comprehensive assistance for Somalia
The sea off Somalia is the main trade route between Europe, the Arabian peninsula and Asia, which makes it very important and means it must be protected.
Somalia does not have properly functioning state structures and continues to offer numerous refuges for pirates. This is why the European Union is also supporting the country with a military training and advisory mission and with a civilian mission to establish and develop the security sector. Alongside its political and development engagement, the European Union is making a comprehensive contribution to stabilising Somalia.