Special meeting of the European Council, 23/04/2015
The special meeting of the European Council began with a standing silence for the victims of the Mediterranean shipwreck.
EU leaders discussed the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean and agreed four priority areas for action:
"Saving the lives of innocent people is the number one priority. But saving lives is not just about rescuing people at sea. It is also about stopping the smugglers and addressing irregular migration."
President Donald Tusk
EU leaders have asked Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative to propose actions allowing to capture and destroy the smuggler's vessels before they can be used.
The High Representative is invited to start the preparations for a possible CSDP operation, in accordance with international law.
Other agreed measures include a step up in the co-operation against smuggling networks with the help of Europol, and the deployment of immigration officers to third countries.
Strengthening our presence at sea
The European Council agreed to triple the resources available to Triton, the EU border mission in the Central Mediterranean, and to enhance its operational capability.
Concrete support to the mission was also announced with the supply of additional vessels, aircrafts and experts by member states.
Preventing illegal migration flows
The EU wants to limit the inflow and tackle the cause of illegal migration. The cooperation with the countries of origin and transit should be reinforced, especially the countries around Libya.
EU leasers also agreed to implement a new return programme for the rapid return of irregular migrants.
Reinforcing internal solidarity and responsibility
The EU will offer more protection to refugees from conflict regions and set up a first voluntary pilot project on resettlement across the EU, offering places to persons qualifying for protection.
EU leaders will revert to the issue at the June European Council.