LUnion seven European countries will help coastal West Africa to better fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which "represents a real threat" to security and trade in the region, she said Thursday.
The European program Crimgo (critical maritime routes in the Gulf of Guinea), implemented in January, aims to strengthen the training of coastguards and establish a network for the exchange of information between acts of piracy countries, the European Commission said in a statement.
The seven countries are: Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo.
"The acts of piracy and armed robbery, as well as trafficking in arms and drugs trafficking or human beings, are a real threat to the security of the region," said the Commission.
In Nigeria alone, the country most affected, 98 acts of piracy, armed robbery committed at sea and marine pollution were recorded between 2008 and 2012.
"By making the water safer, we will help boost trade and growth," said Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development.
The EU is of interest because the Gulf of Guinea represents respectively 13% and 6% of its imports of oil and gas.
The Union will contribute € 4.5 million to the project Grimgo also supported by public partners French, Spanish, Italian or British.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) had expressed concern in October of the situation in the Gulf of Guinea, where pirate attacks are "often violent, planned and designed to steal refined petroleum products that can be easily sold on the market ".