The European roots of Somali piracy

This investigative feature was originally published in the EUobserver on 21 March, 2009

As global powers ratchet up the naval pressure off the coast of Somalia and the European Union this week prepares to play host to a major international conference on the growing scourge of piracy, very little attention is being paid to the other ‘piracy’ in the area – the decades of European illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters.

The Brussels conference – to take place on Wednesday (22 April) and Thursday – will for the most part be a donors’ conference that EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Cristina Gallach predicts will raise in the region of €200 million to bolster Somalia’s anaemic security forces.

Top EU officials, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the heads of the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the commanders of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia and the EU anti-piracy flotilla will attend. Continue reading →