Tuesday

14th Aug 2018

UN chief says EU boat-sinking plan won't work

  • Ban Ki Moon predicted 'limited effectiveness' for EUnavfor Med (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

UN head Ban Ki Moon has criticised EU plans to destroy migrant-smugglers’ boats, while urging Europe to take in more people.

The South Korean diplomat told press in Brussels on Wednesday (27 May) that sinking boats will deprive local communities in north Africa of ways to earn a living.

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

“When you consider destroying these boats, it may end up eventually depriving the very limited means of those people, even if those boats are sometimes used to smuggle people in criminal acts”, he said.

“I believe the military option has some limited, limited effectiveness”, he added.

“I am concerned that destroying these vessels has some other implications”.

The UN chief instead urged EU states to take in more refugees, asylum seekers, and economic migrants.

He said the EU should “explore legal alternatives to such dangerous journeys”, listing refugee resettlement, work and study visas, and family reunification schemes.

He “welcomed” a European Commission proposal, published earlier the same day, to redistribute 40,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy inside the EU.

He called it a “step in the right direction”, which “must have been subject to intense discussion and consultation by EU leaders”.

Speaking later on Wednesday at the European Parliament, he noted that about “half” of Mediterranean boat migrants are "fleeing war, persecution, or human rights abuses and qualify for international protection”.

He urged the EU to show “compassion” and “collective ... responsibility”. He also said that, given its ageing population, “to maintain its economic dynamism, Europe needs migrants”.

The UN head’s discouragement of EUnavfor Med, the naval project, follows similar swipes by leading NGOs and migration experts.

The EU’s own internal analysis, leaked to media in the past two weeks, also highlights pitfalls.

One paper, drawn up by the EU’s military committee, says there’s “a risk to EU reputation” if “loss of life be attributed to … the EU force”.

It notes military action inside Libya, as envisaged, risks “destabilising the political process by causing collateral damage, [and] disrupting legitimate economic activity”.

An earlier paper, drawn up by the EU foreign service, warns "of collateral damage including the loss of life [of migrants]”.

The EU plans to launch EUnavfor Med by July if it gets UN or Libyan approval.

The commission’s asylum seeker relocation plan won’t involve the UK, which used its EU opt-out.

Several other countries, including France, Poland, the Baltic states, and Hungary, have also rejected what they call EU-imposed “quotas”.

"The commission went beyond the agreement to stick to voluntary contributions, as was agreed in the extraordinary Council", a senior source from a Baltic state told EUobserver, referring to a recent EU summit on migration.

"It equals arm-twisting and a challenge to the considered opinion of the Council".

EU Commission skirts Italy sanctions on Roma evictions

The European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, declines to sanction Italy's treatment of the Roma following a forced eviction on Thursday of some 300 from a camp in the outskirts of the Italian capital.

News in Brief

  1. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  2. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  3. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  4. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  5. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  6. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions
  7. Masked youths set dozens of cars alight in Sweden
  8. Spain and Italy refuse new Aquarius-rescued migrants

Opinion

The systemic risk that Europe has to face

One of the biggest systemic risks across Europe, illustrated by Hungary and Poland, is the dominance of the executive power over the judiciary and informal channels of political dependency.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  2. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  3. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  4. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia
  5. 14 lobbyist meetings with Oettinger and Canete went unminuted
  6. UK poll suggests Brits would now vote Remain
  7. Some EU states face delays in 5G preparation
  8. Nordic and Baltic farmers urgently need EU support

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us