EU’s Response: Joint Naval Mission in the Red Sea amid Houthi Attacks

EU countries are set to discuss a new naval operation aimed at re-establishing security and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, as Yemen’s Houthis continue to attack ships in the vital international trade route. The proposal, proposed by the EU’s diplomatic service EEAS, is expected to be discussed in the bloc’s Political and Security Committee (PSC) next Tuesday.

Western allies and regional partners are preparing to protect Red Sea shipping from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have launched attacks on vessels in response to Israel’s bombardments of Hamas militants in Gaza. The proposal suggests creating a new EU operation from the Red Sea to the Gulf.

The European Union (EU) is proposing a new mission to launch anti-aircraft weapons against rebel-held positions in Yemen. The proposal, which is expected to be finalized by 22 January, is expected to launch the operation by the end of February.

The EU’s push comes after the US launched Operation Prosperity Guardian in December, which consists of an ad-hoc coalition of nearly 20 partner countries. The EU could potentially complement the US-led coalition, which already includes numerous EU countries, in the operation. The push is expected to be completed by 22 January, with the EU’s foreign ministers expected to meet in Brussels.

The European Union (EU) is considering a new mission to build upon the Agenor operation, a French-led joint surveillance operation covering the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and part of the Arabian Sea. The mission, EMASoH, includes Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal.

The EU initially explored using its anti-pirate mission, Atalanta, last year, but Spain opposed the idea, stating that its position on the subject has always been clear and that Madrid would not participate in any EU naval mission in the Red Sea.

Spain has withdrawn from participating in the Red Sea mission due to its commitment to the Atalanta mission in the Indian Ocean. The decision was reportedly due to domestic politics, with the Sumar party, a hard-left partner in Spain’s governing coalition, generally opposed to US foreign policy.

However, there is a general interest from other EU member states, particularly free traders, in the region. A deployment by the end of February is considered ambitious, but a realistic timeline is being considered. The success of the deployment will depend on the willingness of all member states to proceed quickly.

EUEU countriesEU's Response: Joint Naval Mission in the Red Sea amid Houthi AttacksHouthi attacksJoint Naval MissionRed Sea