10:12 GMT +323 February 2019
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    A rubber boat loaded of migrants is seen during a search and rescue mission in the mediterranean sea off the Libyan coasts, Italy, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    'We Are Not Crazy': EU Anti-Smuggling Operation Does Not Mean Bombing Boats

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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    In late June, the European Union launched the first phase of a military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) against human traffickers who smuggle migrants from North Africa to Europe to gather information on their activities.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The second stage of the EU naval mission to break up human smuggler networks does not imply destroying traffickers' ships, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday.

    "Phase two, let me clarify it very clearly… does not mean bombing the boats. Not at all. We are not crazy. It means simply arresting, stopping the traffickers that in most cases travel in separate boats not with the migrants and not with the refugees, giving them to the justice and seizing the boats they are using," Mogherini said in a keynote speech at the European Parliament on human rights in the context of migration in the Mediterranean.

    She added that the first stage of the operation had already contributed to saving some 1,500 lives at sea and gathered relevant information on the system that smugglers operated.

    The beginning of the new phase of the operation is reportedly scheduled for October.

    The International Organization for Migration estimates that 430,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2015, with 2,748 dying or going missing en route.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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