EU to Triple Funding for Search, Rescue Operations in Mediterranean
The EU committed itself to strengthening the Triton and Poseidon operations by at least tripling the funding in 2015 and 2016 as well as extending their search and rescue mandates.
This was decided at the special European Council meeting on migratory pressures in the Mediterranean Sea, which gathered EU Heads of State or Government on Thursday.
The EU leaders defined the latest incidents in the Mediterranean as a tragedy and identified their immediate priority as preventing more people from dying at sea.
The EU will mobilise all resources to prevent further loss of life at sea and will address the causes of the human emergency in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit.
The measures include strengthening the EU presence at sea, fighting traffickers, preventing illegal migration flows and reinforcing internal solidarity and responsibility.
The EU will support all UN-led efforts on re-establishing government authority in Libya as the instability, which had gripped the country, provided ideal conditions for traffickers to flourish.
The Union will also address conflict and instability in other countries, including Syria, which were key push factors for migration.
The EU's other main measure is fighting traffickers in compliance with international law, which will include disrupting their networks, bringing the perpetrators to justice and seizing their assets.
This will be carried out in cooperation with Europol, Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Eurojust as well as through increased intelligence and police cooperation with third countries.
The EU will also invest efforts in identifying, capturing and destroying vessels before they are used by traffickers.
The EU leaders invited High Representative Federica Mogherini to start preparations for a possible Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation.
The Union will increase support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger to monitor and control the land borders and routes, reinforcing current CSDP operations in the region and other regional cooperation frameworks.
The EU will seek closer collaboration with the African Union as well as with African partners in addressing the causes of illegal immigration and fighting human smuggling and trafficking.
The members of the European Council foresee the holding of a summit with African countries in Malta as well as deepening cooperation with Turkey in view of the situation in Iraq and Syria.
European migration liaison officers will be deployed in key countries to collect information on migratory routes, coordinate with national liaison officers and cooperate with local authorities.
The measures also foresee closer work with regional partners in building capacity for maritime border management and search and rescue operations.
Regional Development and Protection programmes for North Africa and the Horn of Africa will be launched.
The EU will promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin and transit as well as a new return programme for the rapid return of illegal migrants from frontline member states.
The EU leaders called on the member states to fully transpose and implement the Common European Asylum System.
The European Council committed itself to increasing emergency aid to frontline member states and reviewing options for emergency relocation between all member states.
EASO teams will be deployed to all frontline member states for aiding the processing of asylum applications.
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