Europe maps out massive migration management mission

The European Council released a multi-point statement late Thursday following its Special Meeting on the North African refugee situation in the Mediterranean. Here it is spelled out from the original.

  1. It called the crisis a “tragedy” and vowed to mobilize to stop “more people from dying at sea” and “tackle the root causes of the human emergency”.
  2. It announced a targeting of Libya specifically for government-rebuilding efforts, and that this will entail stronger sea presence off its coast, going directly after human traffickers but more generally help stop conflicts and settle instability “as key push factors of migration”.
  3. It committed to the following list of goals:
    1. Rapid reinforcement of Triton and Poseidon – the tripling of financial resources in next two years, to increase search and rescue capability of the FRONTEX mandate;
    2. Disruption of trafficking webs, seizing of assets, arrest and trial of perpetrators;
    3. Identify, capture and destroy vessels used in the evil trade;
    4. Common Security and Defense Policy operation;
    5. Taking down internet sites attracting migrants and refugees used by traffickers;
    6. Raising aid to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali, Niger and other states to monitor and control land borders and routes in dialogue with the African Union;
    7. Hold a summit in Malta soon for African Union partners willing to cooperate on tackling causes of illegal migration and smuggling of human beings;
    8. Work with Turkey regarding its refugee crisis from Syria and Iraq;
    9. Post European migration liaison officers in key countries to eye migratory flows with local authorities;
    10. Manage maritime borders and search and rescue missions together with regional partners;
    11. Establish Regional Development and Protection Programs for North Africa and the Horn of Africa;
    12. Work at the diplomatic treaty level to promote readmitting unauthorized economic migrants to their countries of origin and transit states;
    13. While respecting the rights of asylum seekers, set up a new return program for rapid return of illegal migrants;
    14. Set up quickly a Common European Asylum System by all member states;
    15. Boost aid to frontline member states and weigh options for voluntary emergency relocations between all member states;
    16. Post European Asylum Support Office (EASO) teams in frontline states to jointly process asylum applicants;
    17. Recruit a lead voluntary pilot project for resettlement of persons qualifying for protection.
  4. It called for a roadmap for the program to be ready by June.
  5. And it also envisioned a systemic and geographically comprehensive approach to reporting its ongoing progress.

After the meeting Latvian Premier Laimdota Straujuma, who chaired it as the Presidency of the Council of the EU said she was satisfied with the results, as “getting rich off of others’ misfortune is unforgivable, so it’s important to put a stop sooner to human trafficking activity in the Mediterranean.”

At the meeting itself she declared that “Latvia too is ready to lend its aid to member states dealing with the flow of refugees. We are ready to offer our expert help, to expedite the asylum seekers’ application inspection process, as well as the material-technical equipment – helicopters, patrol cutters, mobile observation vehicles, border guard experts,” she listed to her counterpart member state government leaders at the extraordinary conference.

“It’s important to prevent the causes of migration, therefore development cooperation becomes essential,” she added.

Latvia in its Presidency is prepared to guide the so-called road map to June’s implementation of the rulings taken today, and will by then duly report on the results at the scheduled Council meeting.

According to UN data at least 3000 souls have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe from North Africa, while over 100,000 have made the hazardous journey only to get stuck in temporary camps in overburdened EU frontline countries like Malta, Greece, Spain, and most of all, Italy. Aid organizations warn that as conflicts intensify throughout the region and the rest of the world, the refugee problem will worsen accordingly.

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