Monday

25th Jun 2018

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.

... our 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”.

Analysis

Trump befriends Conte, depresses EU

Most EU leaders found US president Donald Trump "depressing" at the G7, but one of them - Italy's Giuseppe Conte - made a new friend.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. EU publishes Australia, New Zealand trade mandates
  2. EP civil liberties committee votes for Article 7 on Hungary
  3. Report blames 2017 egg scare on lax EU enforcement
  4. Nine countries to sign up for Macron's military initiative
  5. Re-elected Erdogan potentially in power until 2028
  6. Macron's popularity drops among French pensioners
  7. Tajani calls for €6bn investment to halt migration
  8. Major demo in London for second EU referendum

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Rutte - from 'Mr No' to 'next Tusk'?
  2. UN offers to help EU's migrant 'disembarkation' plan
  3. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  4. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  5. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  6. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  7. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  8. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us