03:04 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Migrants from a capsized boat are rescued during a rescue operation by Italian navy ships Bettica and Bergamini off the coast of Libya in this handout picture released by the Italian Marina Militare on May 25, 2016

    New Year and Another New Migrant Policy Floated by EU

    © REUTERS / Marina Militare/Handout via REUTERS
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    While Europe continues to face the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the European Union's border control agency has requested all members of the Schengen Zone sign up to the new plan and provide coastguard officers to patrol the seas by 15 December 2016.

    ​"Starting next year, Frontex will deploy three off-shore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Finland, Romania and France, which will have multi-national European crews for the first time," the agency said in a statement.

    According to Frontex spokesperson Ewa Moncure, the crews "will go where the situation requires them" but the exact locations where the officers will be deployed haven't been decided yet.

    Fabrice Leggeri, head of the EU's border control agency said: "The rest of the crew will come from other member states in a true spirit of European cooperation at sea."

    Frontex currently operate a total of 15 ships which are stationed near the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea with another dozen off the coast of Italy.

    ​The number of migrants risking their lives across the Mediterranean to Italy continues to rise. A recent report published by the UN's Refugee Agency details the "significant" loss of life in 2016, with 4,655 people known to have drowned compared with 3,771 in 2015.

    However, in April 2016, the European Union was accused of complicity in the deaths of refugees and migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after EU policy makers decided to cut sea-rescue operations — despite knowing what the consequences would be.

    Transcripts and minutes from meetings were scrutinized by academics from Goldsmiths and York university and revealed "shocking findings" that the EU' sown assessment of replacing the Italian search and rescue mission, Mare Nostrum, with Frontex's Triton would increase the number of deaths at sea. But the policy was implemented anyway.

    Almost eight months later, it seems Frontex is now looking for support once again — this time from all members of the Schengen Zone.


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    European Union, refugee crisis, drowning, boats, sea, rescue, deaths, danger, refugees, Frontex, Italy, Europe, Poland, Romania, Finland, France, Greece
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