EU Anti-Human-Smuggling Operation in the Mediterranean Enters Active Stage

The European Union has approved the start of the second phase of its anti-human-smuggling operation in the Mediterranean Sea which will, as of October 7, allow EU naval forces to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.

The EU Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed “Sophia” after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on August 22, 2015 off the coast of Libya.

The decision by the Committee to launch the first step of phase 2 of the operation follows an assessment by the EU Council on September 14 that the conditions to move to this stage have been met.

The Operation Commander Rear Admiral Credendino has judged the transition possible as member states provided the assets needed for this more active phase in the force generation conference of September 16, 2015.

“Today’s decision takes the EU naval operation from its intelligence-gathering phase to its operational and active phase against human smugglers on the high seas,” Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said.

”The European Union has proven its capacity to act in a swift and united manner. We are also united in our diplomatic efforts to find both a political solution to the crises in Syria and Libya, and, in partnership with the countries of origin and transit of the migration flows, to support the economic and social development of these countries.”