Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

EU countries agree boat-sinking operation

  • Mogherini: 'We have to do something with the human beings we save' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU countries have agreed to launch a military operation to sink migrant smugglers’ boats.

The mission, EU Navfor Med, is to have an HQ in Rome under the command of an Italian admiral, Enrico Credendino, and might start work by the end of June, the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said on Monday (18 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

She noted it’ll begin with intelligence gathering and sharing by participant EU states, who are to start pledging manpower and equipment from Tuesday.

In its second phase, EU countries’ assets will carry out “detection and inspection” of smuggler boats.

Warships will later take up positions, possibly in Libyan waters, to deter smuggling, and, in the final phase, begin to “neutralise” the traffickers’ boats, fuel dumps, and other facilities.

Mogherini noted the latter steps will require a UN Security Council resolution, which is currently being drafted by the UK, as well as permission from Libya.

The country has split into several parts since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mogherini said its “legitimate” government is the one in Tobruk. But with no national unity deal in sight, she said the EU will also work with rival authorities in Tripoli, in Misrata, and in “municipalities”.

“We’ll need to work together to dismantle these networks, the municipalities will have an important role to play in identifying them”, she noted.

She downplayed concerns that Islamic State is trying to infiltrate the EU by hiding operatives on migrant boats, as voiced earlier on Monday by Nato head Jens Stoltenberg.

She said EU research “cannot confirm any link known to us” of this type. But she warned that income from people smuggling “may be being used for financing terrorist activities”.

The anti-smuggler operation was ordered by EU leaders at an emergency summit last month when almost 1,000 people drowned in a single incident.

Mogherini said it’s “a record” for the EU to move so quickly.

EU leaders at the time also asked the European Commission to come up with a broader migration plan.

But the commission’s central idea, to impose national quotas on migrant relocation, isn’t going down well.

Mogherini defended the commission proposal on Monday, saying there's political will to act on “sharing of the burden” and that the quotas do not amount to an “open door policy” on immigration.

“They [the EU leaders] did invite the commission to come forward with a proposal”, she said.

“There’s an awareness on the part of member states that … we have to do something with the human beings we save”.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Analysis

Pentagon: ISIS is resurgent in Syria

The US department of defence warns that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is working on a come back in Syria. It is regrouping and supporting activities. This might trigger a new refugee displacement to Europe.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  2. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  3. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  4. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  5. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  6. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  7. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  8. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us