Germany plans to send up to 650 troops to join a new NATO mission to counter human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea and combat arms smuggling by the Islamic State militant group, Der Spiegel reported.
The ruling coalition aims to present a plan to parliament for approval shortly, the magazine said. It would call for the German involvement in NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian to last until December 2017.
The deployment is part of a broader shift by Germany to expand its military role in Europe and NATO.
Der Spiegel said that Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told parliamentary leaders in a letter that “terrorist organisations can act unimpeded” because of the lack of government controls along the Mediterranean coast. This presented “significant threats to our security”.
German ships are also participating in a EU military mission called Sophia to try to combat the smuggling of weapons and people off the Libyan coast.