Council establishes EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers in the Mediterranean

Council of the EU
  • 18/05/2015
  • 17:00
  • Press release
  • 301/15
  • Security & defence
  • Home Affairs
  • Foreign affairs & international relations
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The Council has agreed today (18 May) to establish an EU military operation - EUNAVFOR Med- to break the business model of  smugglers and traffickers of people in the Mediterranean.  This decision, which is one element of the comprehensive EU response to the migration challenge, will enable the formal start of the operational planning for the naval operation. 

EUNAVFOR Med will be conducted in sequential phases and in accordance with the requirements of international law.  Planning of the operation and the initial phase of surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean will be conducted as soon as possible. The second and third phases of the operation would work to search, seize and disrupt the assets of smugglers, based on international law and in partnership with Libyan authorities.  

The operational headquarters of EUNAVFOR Med will be in Rome and Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino (Italy) has been appointed as Operation Commander. The common costs of the operation are estimated at €11.82 million for a two months start up phase plus an initial mandate of 12 months. 

The EU CSDP operation is part of a set of comprehensive measures aimed at responding to the immediate need to save lives, address emergency situations but also to tackle the root causes of irregular migration as requested by the European Council on 23 April 2015. 

The launch of the EU naval operation will be on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council in June.