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European Council on the Mediterranean crisis

On 23 April a special meeting of the European Council, dedicated to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, took place. Member states’ representatives agreed that “The situation in the Mediterranean is a tragedy”. They also pledged to strengthen presence at sea, to fight the traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility.

Specifically, this would mean in the first place reinforcement of EU operations Triton and Poseidon, by at least tripling the financial resources for this purpose in 2015 and 2016 and reinforcing the number of assets. The fight against traffickers should be improved especially through swift action by Member State authorities in co-operation with EUROPOL, FRONTEX, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and EUROJUST, as well as through increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries. Council also called on the High Representative, to, immediately begin preparations for a possible operation in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy. Illegal migration flows can be prevented with increased support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger among others, to monitor and control the land borders and routes. Due to the situation in Syria and Iraq, the EU should also step up cooperation with Turkey. Internal solidarity and responsibility should be reinforced by increasing the emergency aid to frontline Member States, with the rapid and total transposition and effective implementation of the Common European Asylum System and the establishment of a first voluntary pilot project on resettlement across the EU, offering places to persons qualifying for protection.

The crisis in the Mediterranean was also one of the topics of discussion at the meeting between the EU and the African Union, which took place in Brussels. The EU is running a broad dialogue with countries on the African continent on migration and mobility at bilateral, regional and continental levels. EU’s external migration and asylum policy basis is the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) communication.


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