11:23 GMT03 March 2021
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    The Frontex Joint Operation Triton, the EU operation focused on supporting Italy in patroling borders in the Mediterranean region, will be extended at least until the end of 2015.

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights, Francois Crepeau
    © AFP 2021 / AL-WATAN DOHA / KARIM JAAFAR == QATAR OUT =
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The EU operation focused on supporting Italy exercise effective border control in the Mediterranean region will be extended until at least the end of the year, the European Commission said in a press release published on Thursday.

    “The Frontex Joint Operation Triton will be extended until at least the end of 2015” release on the organization’s official site states.

    As a second measure the European Commission has also awarded 13.7 million euros ($15.6 million) in emergency funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to Italy.

    In the press release the Commission also expressed its readiness to react quickly if Italy requests an increase of Joint Operation Triton’s capabilities. “We are ready to respond constructively if Italy identifies the need to step up Operation Triton's resources,” the Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said in the statement.

    Frontex is the EU agency responsible for the security of the union’s borders. It coordinates the 21 Member States’ Joint Operation Triton that started on November 1, 2014, and provides fully-equipped sea vessels and aircraft. A budget estimated at between 1.5 and 2.9 million euros per month has been allocated for the operation.

    The operation’s mission is to prevent anyone from entering the EU undetected and to accompany them to shore for medical treatment, identification, and an assessment of their needs, particularly, if they are refugees needing asylum protection, or migrants seeking to live and work in a European country.

    The Italian island of Lampedusa is located just 70 miles from Tunisia, and is a popular stop for migrants arriving from North Africa.

    At least 218,000 people crossed the sea in 2014, and almost 3,500 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in order to reach the European Union, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ data.

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    Tags:
    European Union, Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Frontex Joint Operation Triton, funding, migrants, Frans Timmermans, Italy
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