General information

The 5-plus-5 Dialogue is forum for collaboration between five countries on the North side (France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain) and the 5 countries on the South side (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) of the Western Mediterranean.

A forum established in 1990 as an exercise at the level of the Foreign Ministers, it subsequently gave rise to different forms of collaboration. They cover the parliamentary, defence, foreign, interior, transport, labour and tourism sectors, which have recently been joined by Education and the Environment.

On 21 December 2004, the 10 Ministers of Defence announced in Paris the launch of the Defence Initiative by formalising the "Declaration of Intent" which institutionalizes the Rotating Presidency (annual rotation according to the English alphabetical order) and the Board of Directors, the latter responsible for the Ministers of Management and supervision of the actions agreed annually in the appropriate Action Plan.

The 5-plus-5 Defence Initiative is based on cooperation in practical activities related to common problems on the two sides of the Western Mediterranean, the solution of which involves working methods (seminars, exercises, etc.) proposed and verified within the exercise.

Since the launch of the Initiative, there has been a convergence of will towards four areas of cooperation in a structured approach:

(1) Maritime Surveillance;

(2) Air safety;

(3) Contribution of the Armed Forces to Civil Protection;

(4) Training.

The 5-plus-5 Dialogue is to be considered a successful example of multilateral integration that has shown some resilience even during the "Arab Spring" and on which to continue to invest in order to facilitate the ever-increasing development of a shared view of the factors instability of the area. The Navy is responsible for the Maritime Surveillance area and in this sense has made available, with a dedicated server, the unclassified information exchange system related to merchant traffic called Virtual – Regional Maritime Traffic Center (V-RTMC) by creating the dedicated Network 5+5.

V-RMTC 5-5 Network

The initiative was launched at the 3rd meeting (Napoli, 30 May 2007) of the Chiefs of the Navies participating in the Initiative with the signature of an Operational Agreement, that launched a sub-regional information sharing area called V-RMTC 5-5 NETWORK.

During 2008, the V-RMTC 5-5 NET achieved full operation with the completion of the accession of the "5+5" countries and the active participation of all the 10 Maritime Operations Centres.

In addition to being an effective maritime surveillance tool, the V-RMTC 5-5 NET can be considered a powerful means of cooperation because through a gradual and voluntary approach to the information sharing, it helps to develop trust between the participating Navies and to further increase the ability to cooperate between the Navies, using the V-RMTC and the associated tools (chat, email and forums).

V-RMTC 5-5 NET Experts' Annual Meeting

The Navies belonging to the 5-plus-5 Defence Initiative meet annually at the V-RMTC 5-5 NET Experts' Annual Meeting and the last edition was held in Rome on 09 and 10 April 2019.

The Meeting confirmed its relevance and effectiveness in order to:

  • strengthen the cooperation and establish shared objectives to develop similar national maritime policies with regard to maritime issues of common interest;
  • continue to promote the benefits in terms of Maritime Security and guarantee of legitimate use of maritime resources, offered by a shared Maritime Situational Awareness;
  • confirm the value of maritime domain as part of the Defence initiative and the high strategic value of its related activities.