Thursday, 29 February 2024 10:12

EU approves military operation against people smugglers

Monday, 22 June 2015

EU officials have agreed to launch military action against people smugglers in the Mediterranean.

Ministers of the 28-country bloc meeting in Luxembourg on Monday gave the go-ahead for a controversial intelligence gathering operation, which will precede a military action this year as European policy makers grapple with the growing refugee crisis at the EU’s southern border.

The latter phases of the plan will lead to European forces boarding and in some cases deliberately sinking vessels, if a mandate from the UN is secured. Officials sought to allay concerns that some migrants might be accidentally killed if this part of the scheme goes ahead.

Between 500,000 and 1m people in Libya are considering the dangerous crossing from north Africa to the Italian coast, according to Frontex, the EU’s border agency. More than 1,800 are estimated to have died attempting the trip this year, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration.

With FT

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