The EU has taken a decision to create a naval force to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean.
The force, to be known as EUNavFor Med, will form part of a wider approach to saving lives at sea EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said after a joint meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers.
She sees the creation of the naval force as part of a comprehensive approach to solving the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.
The EU will, according to her, work with its African and Arab partners and help tackle the root causes of migration – poverty, crisis and war.
EUNavFor Med will aim to break the business model of smugglers and traffickers.
Based in Rome and headed by Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, it will work in the southern and central Mediterranean and in partnership with Libyan authorities.
Planning and assessment of smuggling networks will be the first stage, followed by the searching, seizing and disruption of assets of smugglers all within the framework of international law.
Speaking after the meeting Mogherini said she hopes planning, both practical and political in the UN Security Council, will be completed by the June Foreign Affairs Council.
This Common Security and Defence policy (CSDP) operation is part of a set of comprehensive measures aimed at responding to the immediate need to save lives, address emergency situations and to tackle the root causes of irregular migration as requested by the European Council on April 23.
There is currently no indication of how many vessels will serve on EUNavFor Med and for what period of time. The common costs of the operation are estimated at €11.82 million for a two months start-up phase plus an initial mandate of 12 months.
Republished with permission of our partner defenceWeb.
And according to the Italian Ministry of Defence:
The operational headquarters of EUNAVFOR Med will be located in Rome, according to the statement that Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti released at the end of the EU Foreign Affairs and Defence Council.
Brussel’s green light for the mission “acknowledges that the current situation in the Mediterranean – illegal migration and the smuggler’s criminal activities- has become a European problem,” the Minister added.
Command of Eunavfor Med was assigned to Admiral Enrico Credendino.