The European Union (EU) on 18 May 2015 approved a plan that empowers naval force to combat smugglers operating from Libya and tackle illegal migration in its territory.
The policy for an unprecedented naval operation against the smuggling of refugees from North Africa to Europe was approved by EU foreign ministers during a meet held in Brussels.
According to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, the operation would be launched by June 2015, with a headquarters in Rome under Italian admiral Adm Enrico Credendino, who ran the EU's anti-piracy mission off Somalia, Operation Atalanta.
The naval operation that will involve the deployment of warships and surveillance aircraft off the coast of Libya, will be carried out in three phases and they are
• Intelligence gathering on smugglers
• Inspection and detection of smugglers' boats
• Destruction of boats before they reach Europe, which would help in destructing the business models of the smugglers and their networks
The decision on the policy was taken because the EU has been struggling to cope up with the illegal migrants from Africa and West Asia, who crosses the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.
Further, the United Kingdom (UK) is playing a leading role at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to draft a resolution that would give the European Union a legal basis to use military force against people traffickers.
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When: 18 May 2015