European peace and prosperity depends on safe, secure and clean seas and oceans. But adequate maritime security requires excellent cooperation between coastguard authorities, agencies and other bodies at regional, national or European level.
That’s why ten years ago, the European Coast Guard Functions Forum (ECGFF) was created, with the support of the European Comission. Bringing together over 30 national coastguard authorities from EU countries and associated Schengen countries, it works on collaborative issues such as multi-agency, multinational operations and capacity-building among coast guard academies.
For its 10th anniversary meeting on 12-15 November, the ECGFF turned to Venice. Organised by the Italian Coast Guard, the conference hosted the heads of coast guards and navies from 21 EU member states. The EU was represented by the Commission and relevant EU agencies and bodies (EMSA, EFCA, FRONTEX, EDA, SATCEN and Interpol).
Speakers agreed that cooperation between the authorities performing coast-guard functions leads to better maritime security. Not only does it improve situational awareness, it helps anticipate threats and risks and maximizes efficiency of operations at sea.
The European Commission praised the Forum for bringing together civil and military coast guard authorities across Europe, contributing directly to the execution of the EU maritime security strategy action plan. Also the other speakers agreed that the ECGFF has helped taking cooperation to the next level, particularly in the last 2 years. Maritime security responsibilities are becoming more complementary at national and European level, and silos are being overcome.
A special focus of the discussions has been put on the coast guards cooperation handbook and the multipurpose maritime operations as essential elements to consolidate future cooperation.
Other topics included the outcomes of the ECGFF projects (ECGFA Net – training Net, Exchange programme and Sectorial qualification Framework) funded by the Commission and the possibility of continuing this under the agencies framework.
The chair of the Forum for 2020 has been handed over to the Secretariat General de la Mer (France).
COASTEX 2019 video
- Publication date
- 20 November 2019
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries