EUROMARFOR (EMF) is a non-standing, pre-structured, multinational maritime force, that was borned on 15 May 1995.
In June 1992, with the Petersberg Declaration, the EU began the process of revising its structure to adapt itself to a changing world and for this reason to update the list of potential missions that could be assumed. Consequently it was the requirement to identify the Forces necessary to carry out the new missions that came into force. The governments of the four nations that were later to establish the EMF, were very quick to process and assess the importance of the message sent with the Petersberg Declaration. In fact, as soon as the following September, during a meeting of ministers, they stated their willingness to create a Multinational Maritime Force. This was the starting point of the work that would later lead to the signing of the EUROMARFOR Constitutive document in Lisbon on 15 May 1995. On 2 October 1995, with the appointment of the Spanish Admiral ACEDO MANTEOLA (then ALFLOT) as the first COMEUROMARFOR (CEMF), the existence of the Force was finally materialised.
The feasibility and flexibility of the Force was proven by its first activation, during exercise EOLO 96 (April 96), after only one year from the signing of the Constitutive Document and less than six months after the first COMEUROMARFOR assumed Command. As the years were passing by, more and more time was spent at sea in Operations or Exercises. During this period, the force was activated several times to take part in the so-called “Real World Operations – RWO”.
The first was Operation Coherent Behaviour in eastern Mediterranean in 2002. This Operation was the first autonomous Operation in the EMF’s history and was carried out in the frame of a mandate which had been directly given by the four (4) EMF Nations. During this Operation, EMF was in close cooperation with NATO in the frame of Operation Active Endeavor.
Upon the completion of this first participation in RWO, another challenge was taken up by EMF and the force activated to take part in a new RWO. Thus, in 2003, EMF took part in Operation Resolute Behaviour in Indian Ocean in support of the international coalition’s Operation “Enduring Freedom” and gradually embedded into it between 2003 and 2005. The participation of EMF in an Operation like this, demonstrated the EMF Nations cohesion and determination and their commitment to fight together with the international community against terrorism.
During this period, by the participation in RWO but also through a demanding program of co operational exercises with the countries of South Mediterranean, the visibility and the international recognition of EMF increased significantly. EUROMARFOR participated also in operation UNIFIL between 2008 and 2009, under the aegis of UN. During this activation, the EMF at sea Commander acted as CTF 448. Once again EMF demonstrated its flexibility and its capacity of acting under the aegis of a different Organization. In fact it was a historical milestone not only for EMF, but even for the UN, because it was the first UN naval operation.
The latest activation of EUROMARFOR took place in December 2011 in order to participate in the European Unions’ Operation ATALANTA in Indian Ocean. This activation, excluding some short intervals, has already lasted for 30 months and is still ongoing, with a foresight to last for at least 12 months more.
Between 2011 and 2015, EUROMARFOR was activated 4 times to figth against piracy in the Indian Ocean, taking part in European Unions’ Operation ATALANTA. The first activation in 2011 was the first one under EU military command.
During all these years, by the participation in Real World Operations, but also through a demanding program of exercises in cooperation with the countries of South Mediterranean, the visibility and the international recognition of EMF has increased significantly.
EUROMARFOR has proved to be an efficient initiative, mainly because it has a very flexible structure which is based on the concept of a non-standing but pre structured force.