The 27 member ambassadors of the Political and Security Committee (CoPS) of the European Union today visited the crews of the amphibious ship San Giusto of the Italian Navy and the frigate Kanaris of the Greek Navy, moored at anchor in the Gulf of Naples.
The CoPS, chaired by Delphine Pronk, president, is accompanied by General Robert Brieger, the highest military authority present and president of the Military Committee of the European Union, representing the chiefs of defense staff of the 27 member states.
The visit represents the first time since the EUNAVFOR MED IRINI operation was launched in 2020 that the representatives of the European Nations have met the women and men of IRINI who every day with great professionalism operate on land and at sea to combat the trafficking of arms to and from Libya, within the framework of the embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council. The secondary objectives of the maritime security operation also include the collection of information to support illicit trafficking of petroleum derivatives and the smuggling of human beings from Libya.
Receiving the committee on behalf of the Italian government was the Undersecretary of State for Defence, the Honorable Matteo Perego of Cremnago who, addressing the ambassadors, underlined the country's commitment in this delicate area on the southern border of Europe. In fact, Italy continuously ensures a large part of the air and naval assets used, almost half of the military personnel involved in the Operation, the headquarters in Rome as well as operational and logistical bases on national soil.
“Today the Strategic Compass” Perego also stated “It establishes itself as an indispensable tool for outlining the perimeter of a common strategic culture and, above all, for defining the directions - including political ones - necessary to give substance to the desired and deserved role of the European Union as a global actor. It is therefore more necessary than ever to implement what we have approved with the aforementioned document, which has profound implications for operational commitments, such as Operation IRINI, capacity development and industrial cooperation".
On board of Nave San Giusto the European delegation met with division admiral Stefano Turchetto, commanding the operation from the IRINI Headquarters located in Rome, who illustrated the current strategic situation in the Central Mediterranean.
Rear Admiral Valentino Rinaldi, commander of the naval air group at sea, instead provided a tactical update on the current composition of the Naval Air Force assigned to him and on the operational activities in progress.
In order to allow complete involvement and a full understanding of the operations that characterize daily life on board, the CoPS delegation, after the main operational areas of the Ship (staff room, combat operations center and bridge) was able to attend a practical demonstration in which the Greek naval unit, Kanaris, was boarded by a team of Special Forces departing from the Italian ship with the support of 2 rigid keel inflatable boats Hurricane and a helicopter. Meanwhile, a second helicopter with snipers on board provided security cover for the operations.
The delegation then moved to the Greek frigate Kanaris meeting the crew and commander.
In his greeting, Admiral Turchetto wanted to underline: “Peace is the fruit of collaboration between peoples. And it is for this reason that I express my heartfelt thanks to the members of the Political and Security Committee of the European Union for this visit which renews and strengthens the constant support of the Member States of the Union to the EUNAVFOR MED IRINI Operation".