BRUSSELS, Feb. 18 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The EU has reiterated on Tuesday that its High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, does not believe that a military mission in the Mediterranean promotes a 'called effect' for migration, but has admitted that, in the face of member states, the operation that will replace 'Sophia' will address migration concerns.
At a press conference in Brussels, a spokeswoman for the EU Foreign Affairs Service, led by Borrell, has claimed that, although the head of European diplomacy does not believe such a phenomenon exists, the decision to create a new mission in the Mediterranean “takes into account” legitimate “concerns of capitals.
“Everyone can interpret the figures as they wish. Some understand what a risk means, others do not. But it makes no sense to discuss whether there is a risk, because if the operation manifests it will cease,” said the spokeswoman, adding that the High Representative opened to study “all angles” on this matter.
This Monday, within the framework of the Foreign Affairs Council, the ministers of the EU branch agreed to create a new military operation in the Mediterranean with naval, air and satellite equipment focused on guaranteeing the arms embargo in Libya. After announcing the agreement, Borrell himself terminated the operation 'Sophia', which expires his mandate in March, and since 2015 he had been rescuing in the Mediterranean.
Given the pressure of several EU countries, led by Austria, it was decided that the new mission, which still has no name, has as a top priority the control of the flow of arms to Libya and patrols in the eastern Mediterranean. These are areas attended by arms dealers and that until now are not on the migration routes.
Moreover, the twenty-seven political agreement includes the suspension of maritime activity in the event that vessels with migrants are intercepted, in a measure that the High Representative himself admitted as a “concession.”
Upon leaving the ministerial meeting, Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg welcomed a “completely new” mission in the Mediterranean, while his Italian colleague, Luigi di Maio, congratulated himself that, in his opinion, the EU recognize the 'called effect'.
Also, the EU has not wanted to advance more details about the new operation and has not ruled out that it can change the command of the operation, which under the name of 'Sophia' held Italy, the main contributor to the mission. Currently the commander of the operation is the Italian Vice Admiral Credendino and his headquarters is in Rome.
In addition, on who will make the decision to withdraw the ships if there is a migratory increase, it has been limited to pointing out that the commander of the operation will have to perform an observation task and will inform the EU about the situation on the ground.
In this regard, all operational details will be negotiated in meetings at the technical level and it is expected that the mandate and regulatory framework of the new mission can be closed for the next ministerial meeting in March.