European Maritime Force

Active 1995–present
Country  France

 European Union

Branch Navy
Type Rapid reaction force
Motto(s) At Sea for Peace

The European Maritime Force (Euromarfor or EMF) is a non-standing,[1] military force with the current participation of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.[2] The force may carry out naval, air and amphibious operations, with an activation time of 5 days after an order is received.[3]

The force was formed in 1995 to fulfill missions defined in the Petersberg Declaration, such as sea control, humanitarian missions, peacekeeping operations, crisis response operations, and peace enforcement.

Dedicated in priority to the European Union (EU), the force can be deployed either in a NATO environment, acting as part of the European branch of NATO, or acting upon the mandate of other international organizations, such as United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or any other international entity.



In June 1992, the Petersberg tasks were set out, defining which potential missions that could be assumed by the Western European Union in the new post-Cold War situation. Consequently, the identification of forces needed to carry out such missions was required.

The following September a ministerial meeting between the governments of Spain, Portugal, France and Italy resolved their willingness to create an international maritime force. This led to the signing of the constitutive document of the European Maritime Force in Lisbon on 15 May 1995. The force came into existence on 2 October 1995, with the appointment of the Spanish Admiral Acedo Manteola (then Alflot) as its first commander.

Active periods

The first activation of the force was made with exercise EOLO 96 in April 1996, In 2001, officers from Greece and Turkey, respectively, integrated as observers in the Permanent Cell, highlighting the willingness of these countries to become full members.

A number of operations and exercises were undertaken in the following years. The first was Operation Coherent Behaviour in eastern Mediterranean in 2002. During this Operation, EMF was in close cooperation with NATO in the frame of Operation Active Endeavor. This was the first autonomous operation in the history of the force, and was carried out based on a mandate given by the participating nations.

Upon the completion of this first participation in RWO, another challenge was taken up by EMF and the force activated to take part in a new RWO. Thus, in 2003, EMF took part in Operation Resolute Behaviour in Indian Ocean in support of an international coalition’s Operation “Enduring Freedom” and gradually embedded into it between 2003 and 2005. The participation of EMF in an Operation like this, demonstrated the EMF Nations cohesion and determination and their commitment to fight together with the international community against terrorism.

During this period, by the participation in RWO but also through a demanding program of co operational exercises with the countries of South Mediterranean, the visibility and the international recognition of EMF were increased significantly. EUROMARFOR participated also in Operation UNIFIL between 2008 and 2009, under the aegis of UN. During this activation, the EMF at sea Commander acted as CTF 448. Once again EMF demonstrated its flexibility and its capacity of acting under the aegis of a different Organization. In fact it was a historical milestone not only for EMF, but even for the UN, because it was the first UN direct Operation.

The latest activation of EMF, in order to participate in the EU’s Operation Atalanta in Indian Ocean, took place in December 2011. This activation lasted for 20 months and ended in August 2013. In December 2013, the force reactivated for participating in the same Operation once again.

From its foundation, EMF, has been activated for a total period of 62 months for participation in RWO.


19 June 1992 Petersberg Declaration. The concept for forces answerable to the Western European Union is established.
28 October 1993 Ministers meeting in Grosseto, Italy. The wish to create an international maritime force is stated.
15 May 1995 Lisbon Conference, signing of the Constitutive Document.
2 October 1995 Appointment in Rota of Admiral Acedo Manteola (ALFLOT) as the first commander.
23 April 1996 First activation to participate in the Partners exercise EOLO and for a Port Visit in La Valletta, Malta.
1 October – 30 November 2002 First activation for an Operation Coherent Behaviour, in the Eastern Mediterranean
14 January 2003 – 12 December 2005 Second activation for an Operation Resolute Behaviour, in the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom, in the Indian Ocean.
26–30 November 2007 18th Activation onboard ITS ESPERO in Oran harbour, to participate in Multi-Cooperative Exercise "MCE 07" with the Algerian Navy, off the Oran/Algeria coast. Port visit to Oran.
29 February 2008 – 28 February 2009 Third Activation for an Operation: EMF held UNIFIL Maritime Task Force (MTF) command responsibilities in the UN Peacekeeping Operation “IMPARTIAL BEHAVIOR” in Lebanon. 12 months of EMF leadership, for the first time under UN aegis.
23 September 2010 – 27 September 2010 EMF participated in the Exercise MCE 10 with Morocco NW of Casablanca.
6 December 2011 – 6 August 2013 Fourth activation for participating in the EU's Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean
6 December 2013 – still on goingFifth activation for participating yet again in the EU's Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean


High Level Inter-Ministerial Committee

The High Level Inter-Ministerial Committee (CIMIN) is at the top level of EMF organization. The body is composed by Chiefs of Defence (CHOD), Political Head Directorates of Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries and credited representatives of participating nations. The CIMIN ensures the politico-military direction of the participating countries establishes the conditions for the employment of the force and issues directives to COMEUROMARFOR. CIMIN meetings are convoked when necessary, at the request of any of the member states.

Politico-Military Working Group

The Politico-Military Working Group (POLMIL WG) is the executive body of CIMIN. The POLMIL WG is composed by the representatives from the CHOD's and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the member countries. It takes care of all the activities related to the development and external relations of the Force and ensures the implementation of the CIMIN decisions. The POLMIL WG also appoints a Staff of the EMF countries to act as CIMIN Secretariat, for the conduct of its daily activities and to act as the permanent interlocutor of the CEMF.

Sub working group

Under the POLMIL WG, is the EUROMARFOR Sub working group (EMF SWG). EMF SWG is composed by representatives from each one of the Nation's Naval General Staffs mainly to advice the POLMIL WG on specific Naval issues and to express the single National Naval Staff's view on specific issues of own competence and co-ordinate positions and actions to be taken.

Operational level

At the operational level of the chain of command, there is the Commander of the European Maritime Force (CEMF or COMEUROMARFOR), who is designated every two years among the National Naval Authorities (NNAs) entities namely:

The CEMF relies both on his own existing National Staff and the EMF Permanent Cell (EMFPC) for the accomplishment of the assigned duties. The EMF is composed by Director who is an Officer of the same nationality as the CEMF and four representatives (Commanders or Lieutenant Commanders), one from each EMF Nation. Additionally, since November 2001 one Officer from Greece and one from Turkey joined the permanent cell as observers.


Considering the wide range of missions the force may be charged with, its composition and size cannot be defined in advance. In fact, the force will not be established on a permanent basis, but will be assembled on a case-by-case basis and tailored to the mission. It will be built through the capabilities made available by the participating nations, the most suitable ones for the operation to be conducted. The size of EMF may range from a small Task Group to a large Task Force including carrier and amphibious groups, escorts and support vessels. Furthermore, maritime patrol aircraft, mine countermeasure units, submarines or other types of naval units could be employed, depending on the mission and its related tasks. From the moment when the member nations take the decision to intervene in a crisis by employing the EMF, the CIMIN directs COMEUROMARFOR to activate the force. After consultation with the CIMIN, CEMF and national authorities, participating nations define the volume and nature of their involvement. Subsequently, they assign units to EMF. COMEUROMARFOR assembles the assigned units and gets their operational control as required.


Term of office Title Name Nationality
2 October 1995Almirante Manuel Acedo Manteola  Spain
7 October 1996Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Philippe Durteste  France
22 October 1997Ammiraglio di Squadra Umberto Guarnieri  Italy
14 February 1998Ammiraglio di Squadra Paolo Giardini  Italy
9 October 1998Vice-Almirante Reis Rodrigues  Portugal
14 October 1999Almirante Francisko Rapallo Comendador  Spain
14 September 2001Ammiraglio di Squadra Quinto Gramellini  Italy
16 September 2003Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Alain Dumontet  France
20 September 2005Almirante Angel Tello Valero  Spain
31 August 2006Almirante Fernando Armada Vadillo  Spain
17 September 2007Ammiraglio di Squadra Giuseppe Lertora  Italy
29 April 2009Ammiraglio di Squadra Luigi Binelli Mantelli  Italy
15 September 2009Vice-Almirante José Saldanha Lopes  Portugal
28 November 2010Vice-Almirante José Monteiro Montenegro  Portugal
15 September 2011Vice-Amiral d’Escadre Xavier Magne  France
18 September 2013Almirante Santiago Bolibar Piñeiro  Spain
29 July 2015Almirante D. Francisco Javier Franco Suanzes  Spain[4]
17 September 2015Ammiraglio di Squadra Filippo Maria Foffi  Italy[5]

See also


  1. EUROMARFOR – At Sea for Peace pamphlet. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  2. Biscop, Sven (2003). Euro-Mediterranean security: a search for partnership. Ashgate Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7546-3487-4.
  3. EUROMARFOR Retrospective – Portuguese Command, page 12. Retrieved 11 March 2012.

External links

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