25 July 2017, Brussels – The European Union today extended the mandate of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 31 December 2018, and further enhanced its role to combat trafficking. The operation works to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean, train the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya.
Announcing the renewal, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said: “Two years ago, the European Union’s member states decided unanimously to tackle together one of the most despicable crimes of our times – the trafficking of human beings – by establishing EUNAVFOR Med – Operation Sophia. Many suspected smugglers have been apprehended and many lives saved in the Mediterranean Sea, and since last year our women and men serving under the European flag have been also training the Libyan Coastguard and enforcing the arms embargo on the high seas off the coasts of Libya.”
“Today, I’m particularly proud to announce that the mandate of Operation Sophia has been unanimously renewed and again with additional tasks”, Mogherini added.
The 28 EU Member States also amended the mandate of the operation to set up a mechanism monitoring the training of the Libyan Coastguard; conduct new surveillance activities and gather information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya; and enhance the sharing information on human trafficking with member states’ law enforcement agencies, FRONTEX and EUROPOL.
“As a matter of priority, we will start in the coming days the revision of the operational plan in order to include the new tasks, such as the mechanism for monitoring the Libyan Coastguard and Navy activities post training, and to strengthen the effectiveness of the mission and the shared responsibility among member states”, said the High Representative.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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