The countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea face common problems, including monitoring the coastline, drug trafficking, and clandestine immigration. Using the world's navies to deal with such activities is not only desirable but essential. Each nation has its own administrative and legal organizations, which can hinder cooperation. But people can make it work. Navies must be empowered to intervene from a legal and regulatory standpoint if they are to be effective in the open sea. The French Navy has these capabilities, but they are limited. Inter-ministerial and international cooperation both need improvement.
There have long been imbalances between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. Standards of living, modes of government, and safety of populations vary. Disparities are reflected in illicit sea traffic—traffic likely to grow if unequal development continues. Navies, as military arms and in service of the public, cannot afford to ignore this situation. The terrorist threat and arms trafficking will profit from increased clandestine immigration and drug smuggling.