Opt-out puts Navy on sidelines in pirate hunt

Denmark's decision not to participate in the EU's common defence policy will prevent it from taking part in a union naval force actively pursuing pirates in the Arabian Sea.

Nine EU countries have agreed to join forces in an effort to stamp out piracy in the area, particularly in the Gulf of Aden.

Ships from Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, the UK and the Netherlands are currently making their way to the Arabian Sea, where Danish warship HMS Absalon serves as flagship for the international Task Force 150.

Since its arrival in August the Absalon has had several run-ins with pirates and currently holds five Somalis suspected of trying to capture a Netherlands flagged ship last week.

Judicial uncertainties, however, could lead to their release. Absalon freed 10 pirates late last year for the same reason.

It is not yet known how the new EU force will deal with pirates it captures. The United Nations Security Council will take up the issue later this month to determine whether an international court should be established specifically to prosecute piracy.

Common defence was one of four opt-out areas Denmark was grated after voters in 1992 rejected the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.


The Copenhagen Post

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