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Libyan Newswire

Answer – Role of NGOs in the Mediterranean – Frontex sounds the alarm – E-001589/2017

The 2017 risk analysis of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency(1) (EBCGA) stresses the unintended consequences of the search and rescue (SAR) missions close to, or within, the 12-mile territorial waters of Libya, with migrant smugglers organising crossings with the main purpose of being detected by EU, civilian and non-governmental organisations (NGO) vessels(2).

However, this should not be interpreted as an allegation of collaboration between the migrant smugglers and the NGOs. Since March 2017, the Commission has not received official information about prosecution of NGOs for having cooperated with criminal networks. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the situation, including through reports from the EBCGA, the European mission Eunavformed/OperationSophia, and the relevant authorities of the most directly involved Member States, including Italy.

In line with international law, coordination of the rescue efforts is ensured primarily by the State of the SAR region where an incident takes place through its rescue coordination centre (RCC). Any assisting vessel, be it private-owned or State-controlled, must therefore follow the instructions of the responsible RCC. Under the current circumstances, increased coordination between all participants in the SAR operations in the Mediterranean is required(3).

Through the Partnership Framework under the European Agenda on Migration(4), the EU cooperates with key third countries of origin and transit to prevent irregular migration and tackle migrant smuggling at source.

A Joint Communication was adopted on 25 January 2017, outlining concrete actions to combat criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling(5). On the Central Mediterranean route, the implementations of the actions set out in the communication and the Malta Declaration are ongoing.

(1) http://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Publications/Risk_Analysis/Annual_Risk_Analysis_2017.pdf
(2) Ibid, p. 33.
(3) Ibid, p.33.
(4) COM(2016) 385 final of 07.06.2016
(5) JOIN(2017) 4 final of 25.1.2017. Migration on the Central Mediterranean route — Managing flows, saving lives.
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