Greece pulls out from EU anti-piracy force due to crisis

Reuters News
|
Posted: Mar 05, 2012 12:43 PM
Greece pulls out from EU anti-piracy force due to crisis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has recalled its warship from the European Union's anti-piracy task force in the Indian Ocean to save money as it struggles to meet fiscal targets set by international lenders in return for a bailout package.

Greece, struggling with its worst economic crisis since World War Two, is cutting 400 million euros from the defense budget this year as it fights to stave off bankruptcy.

The frigate will return one month earlier than scheduled, on March 8 instead of April 4 and will not take part in the mission during the second half of the year, the Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Deploying a frigate in the region costs Greece 2.5 million euros a month.

The EU launched "Operation Atalanta" in 2008 to tackle rising attacks on cargo ships that have earned pirates millions of dollars in ransom and have increased insurance costs for shipping companies.

Greece was the first country to take command of the Atalanta task force, with France, Italy, Germany and Britain among countries taking part.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou)