Germany Details Non-Combat NATO Mission the in the Aegean Sea

(Google Translation) – Since February 2016, NATO has been helping to improve the exchange of information between the Greek and Turkish coast guards and the EU border protection agency Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the Aegean Sea. This is necessary in order to optimize the action taken by the national authorities against smugglers and their networks. For this purpose, NATO has sent a task force of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2) to the Aegean Sea. The Bundeswehr participates with a warship and the association is led by a sea captain.

Tom Twardy photo

The ships provide information for a complete picture of the situation in the Aegean Sea and about the smuggling activities in the sea area to Greek and Turkish authorities. Liaison officers from the Turkish and Greek authorities and an officer from Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency are on board the German lead ship. They are the interface to your organizations and accelerate the flow of information. In this regard, NATO serves as a cooperation platform for the neighboring countries. With the peak of the crossings over the Aegean Sea of ​​around 853,000 people in 2015, the number initially fell sharply in the following years. In 2019, 83,300 migrants were registered in the Aegean Sea, including land border crossings. Around 7,800 border crossings were registered between January and the end of May 2020.

Group photo showing combat and non-combat divisions of SNMG2.

A task force of the SNMG Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is used in the Aegean Sea between mainland Turkey and Greece. She is under the leadership of a German sea captain on board a German ship. It currently consists of four to seven ships. The ships operate both on the high seas and, since March 2016, in the territorial waters of both countries. The SNMG Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is one of four permanent naval task forces of NATO. The member countries send ships for six to twelve months, the leadership rotates between the nations. The units are available to the Alliance as maritime reaction forces, show presence, take part in multinational maneuvers or are temporarily subordinate to Operation Sea Guardian.

On February 10, 2016, on the initiative of Greece, Turkey and Germany, the NATO defense ministers decided to contribute to European measures against human smuggling in the Aegean Sea. On February 11, 2016, the NATO Commander in Chief Europe (SACEUR) ordered the SNMG2 to be sent to the Aegean Sea. The NATO Council formally approved the support mission on February 25, 2016. Under constitutional law, there is no deployment, but a deployment of the armed forces. A mandate by the German Bundestag is not necessary for the non-sovereign tasks of clarification and information gathering.

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