EU takes chair of antipiracy group

DECEMBER 26, 2013 — From January 1, 2014 the European Union will take over the chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) for one year, continuing the work carried out in 2013 under the chairmanship of the United States. Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) will serve as EU chairperson.

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) was established in January 2009, pursuant to a UN Security Council Resolution, to facilitate the coordination of actions among more than 60 states and organizations to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia.

While the number of hostages has gone down from more than 700 in 2011 to around 50 today, the European Union is strongly committed to bringing this number down to zero ships and zero seafarers in the hands of Somali pirates.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President Catherine Ashton said: "Pirate attacks over the past year have dropped by 95%, but the fight against piracy is not yet won. It is vital that the international community continues to work together to stamp out piracy and consolidate the gains we have already made".