“I really appreciated the “European spirit” permeating the Course. I am deeply convinced that the Union will benefit more and more from the professionalism and dedication of all those people believing that, together, we are a stronger player on the world stage. The excellent work conducted by the ESDC plays a fundamental role in creating a community of scholars and practitioners able to contribute in making CSDP stronger”.This a was a candid comment of Francesca Sterzi, one of the participants at “The Challenges of Securing Maritime Areas of the European Union” course held in Constanta, Romania from 21 to 24 May 2019, who agreed to share with us her impressions of the course.
In addition to the theoretical input on the European Union Maritime Security Strategy, the course had an important practical dimension, by prompting the participants to analyse some of the risks at the Union’s maritime external borders, i.e. those relating to illegal migration.
The operational situation described by the exercise scenario indicated that:
the complex geopolitical situation is directly influenced by the active conflict areas in the proximity of Europe, which have in recent years generated a massive influx of immigrants into the European Union… […] the pressure of irregular movement of people across Europe is expected to be maintained, despite the preventive measures undertaken by the European Union. […] The Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of relevant authorities, EU institutions and agencies (e.g. Commission, FRONTEX), non-governmental and international organizations (UNHCR, ILO, International Organization for Migration, Red Cross, etc.) respond to an immigration crisis situation at the European Union maritime border – the Black Sea.Following a group discussion and initial consideration of potential options, the course embarked on a live exercise involving a large number of stakeholders and resources prepared by the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The exercise helped participants visualise the scale of the cooperation between several ministries and organisations at the national and regional levels, which was depicted very well by Francesca:
The Exercise, at which we had the opportunity to assist, has been a great occasion to gain an operational perspective on the issues discussed during the Course.