Monday, 30/3/2020 | 10:31 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Answer – EUNAVFOR's mandate – E-001166/2016

Eunavfor MED/Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015 and is being conducted in sequential phases, and in accordance with the requirements of international law. It works in close cooperation and understanding with a broad range of international organisations involved in migration issues, such as UNHCR.

In the first part of the second phase, started on 7 October 2015 under UNSCR 2240, (i) it is authorised to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking, under conditions provided for by applicable international law, including Unclos and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants. Individuals apprehended in this context are handed over to the Italian authorities for prosecution. The Commission will evaluate the existing EU legal framework on migrant smuggling(1) and the need for improvements. (ii) the second part of the second phase is to be conducted in accordance with any applicable UN Security Council Resolution or consent by the Libyan authorities and is designed to allow the boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas or in the territorial and internal waters of that State, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking, under the conditions set out in that Resolution or consent; Any individual apprehended in the territorial waters of Libya would either have to be handed over to the Libyan authorities or with the explicit permission of Libya to be taken to a third country for prosecution. Due to the absence of Libyan political representation at this stage, none of these arrangements can be put in place.

The European Neighbourhood Policy and the upcoming EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy will take into account identified and emerging challenges around the Mediterranean. It will address them by using the range of tools at the disposal of the EU in an articulated and effective manner.

(1) Directive 2002/90/EC and Framework Decision 2002/946/JHA.