Tuesday

14th Aug 2018

EU still not clear on where to put rescued migrants

  • Operation Sophia has rescued around 50,000 people since 2015 (Photo: CSDP EEAS)

The EU states have yet to reach an agreement on changing rules for an EU naval operation, at Italy's demand, when it comes to offloading rescued migrants at sea.

EU ambassadors on Friday (3 August) in a meeting in Brussels discussed Operation Sophia, an EU naval operation primarily tasked to "identify, capture and dispose of vessels" used by migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

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

The operation also conducts sea rescues, when required, and then disembarks people in Italy. Around 50,000 have been offloaded since 2015.

But Italy's foreign minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi had in July demanded an overhaul of "the operational rules so as to avoid all the rescued people landing in one country." The comments followed threats by Matteo Salvini, Italy's far-right interior minister, to close off ports to rescue boats.

A so-called strategic review of the operation, along with another mission in Libya known as Eubam, has been sent to all 28 member states.

Such reviews open up the possibility of either ending the operation, amending it, or maintaining the current status.

The document sent to the capitals contained a 'place holder' for disembarkation, meaning no proposals have so far been put on the table.

One EU diplomat described the Friday talks as "interesting and frank". The diplomat noted Sophia's mandate could also be changed to include oil smuggling.

Another said Italy had been firm in its demands.

Efforts are underway to reach an agreement on the strategic review, including disembarkation, by the end of August. Sophia's current mandate expires end of December.

The Political and Security Committee (PSC), a body at the EU Council dealing with foreign policy and security issues, had on 20 July agreed to fast track the review.

An EU official said the aim of the 20 July meeting would be to "conclude within five weeks" the strategic review based on the agreements reached by heads of state and government at an EU summit held in late June.

EU migration talks hit Italian rock

As the EU summit opened in Brussels, positions were still apparently irreconcilable on how to deal with people trying to cross the Mediterranean sea, with the Italy's PM Giuseppe Conte threatening to veto conclusions.

EU ready to shore up Morocco migrant funding

The European Commission says it is ready to boost spending in Morocco when it comes to stop migrant hopefuls from reaching Spain by boat. The money follows demands for help from Madrid as irregular arrival numbers spike in Spain.

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

EU ready to shore up Morocco migrant funding

The European Commission says it is ready to boost spending in Morocco when it comes to stop migrant hopefuls from reaching Spain by boat. The money follows demands for help from Madrid as irregular arrival numbers spike in Spain.

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