The European Union’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini warned the bloc on November 20 that its migrant mission in the Mediterranean will collapse if governments do not urgently agree on a temporary fix.
More specifically, EU governments have failed to resolve a disagreement over how to prolong Operation Sophia. Set up at the height of the European migrant crisis to tackle people smuggling, it expires next month.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Italy’s populist government wants to change the mission so that disembarkation ports, where asylum requests are processed, are shared among several member states.
“I clearly said to the ministers that either they find an interim solution on the issue of disembarkation within the next couple of weeks or we will need to dismantle the operation and the operation will come to an end,” said Mogherini.
“This would mean no presence at sea from the European Union, no training of the Libyan coast guard, no dismantling of the networks of smugglers, no arrest from the European Union side of the smugglers, no authorisation of vessels, no arms embargo implementation and so on and so forth.”
Rome’s right-wing, nationalist government says it should not have to carry the burden of dealing with migrants rescued at sea on its own and it is time other EU states take in more.
Efforts to adjust Operation Sophia have beached on the broader question of how to reform the EU’s so-called Dublin asylum rules, reported AFP.