EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis

(The Guardian) EU ministers have agreed to launch a sea and air mission that could in its later phases destroy vessels used by human traffickers, which have carried an estimated 1,800 migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean this year. An intelligence-gathering operation will herald the mission’s first phase, with the UK expected to offer drones and surveillance equipment as a partial riposte to calls for it to take in more refugees. In later phases, hostile vessels suspected of harbouring migrants could be boarded, searched, seized or disposed of in Libyan territory or international waters – as long as a chapter 7 UN resolution to authorise the use of force to do so is obtained first. The plan could be launched as soon as 25 June, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a Brussels press conference.  Read more here.


4 responses to “EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis

  1. Although this article is targeted at the smuggling that is occurring in Libya, many of the same issues are being brought up by the current migration crisis in Syria. In both cases, people are dealing with the same issue. They simply want to leave the dangerous or oppressive situation that surrounds them, and look to Europe for the hope of a better life. Unfortunately, this has posed many logistical as well as moral issues for Europe in both circumstances. Not only are they unsure of how to go about monitoring who comes in and out of their country, but they have not made any progress in helping lessen the thousands of people that have died trying to cross the Mediterranean. As the article mentioned, a lot of the issues they are facing in regards to smuggling could be fixed by improving their immigration policy and allowing more legal forms of immigration. As we have seen in the case of the Syrian refugees, many have taken to making their own forms of transportation which have proven deadly. Therefore, if improvements are not made, more Libyans may also resort to this fatal option. I would suggest that in the case of the Syrian refugees, European countries offer long-term visas for a few years. This would allow them to escape current dangers while also regulating their rights, privileges, and duties. In the case of Libyan immigrants, I would suggest a similar program, but with an option to transition into citizenship if they do not wish to return to Libya.


  2. The use of drones in today’s society has been more than ever. Initially in the early days of drones, drones were merely used for surveillance purposes. But nowadays with latest technology, it is not only easier to fly a drone anywhere on the planet, but also attach a couple of missiles to it that could destruct an entire town. As from this article, tackling migration crisis on water does not call for the use of drones. As a ex-drone technician in the Singapore’s air force, I have seen what drones are capable of. First of all, it is controlled by a pilot who is not at the scene of crime where the drone is operating. Therefore, the pilot is unable to assess his surrounding conditions and tension with his own eyes, but rather through the view from a camera. As for these migrants whom are tightly packed into small fishing vessels in the middle of the sea; they are non-visible and some UAVs or drones do not have the technology to scan through a vessel using heat thermal vision, given the height the UAV is hovering and the weather and conditions at sea. So theoretically, a pilot, who is not at the scene, could make a simple decision of pulling the trigger on a vessel that could be housing 10-20 civillians, whom are escaping oppressive situations in their country, resulting in murdering innocent civilians whom they were trying to protect from the start. Therefore, the use of drones is not a tactical way to combat illegal vessel ships as accidents are more than likely to occur. The governments should utilize their coast guard or at least assure that no one is aboard these ships before firing onto them.


  3. A strategy that strictly targets smugglers is short-sighted and innefective. Granted, the migrant crisis is an urgent issue that affects the entirety of the European Union, who is currently struggling to accomodate the growing numbers of migrants entering their coasts. Yet, the solution to the problem is not dependent on the smugglers themselves but the current situation in Syria that is giving these smuggglers their jobs. Trying to solve the problem by eliminating smugglers is equivalent to saying that all immigration issues in the United States could also be solved by eliminating coyotes. Furthermore, militarization puts incoming immigrants at an even greater risk than they are already in. If the European Union wants to deal with the overflow of immigrants it should think beyond the immediate benefits of military usage. A more comprehensive policy plan should be established that addresses Syria (and its stability), that implements specific procedures to dealing with incoming immigrants/ vessels (as the article vaguely suggests) and the temporary accomodation of immigrants within European borders. Targeting smugglers merely addresses the surface of a ever more complex issue.


  4. As Shreeram already pointed out, the use drones in today’s society is greater than ever. Drones are no longer used for surveillance like before.

    It was in another class that we watched a movie on drones and how they were being used to set off bombs in farther away places simply be being controlled by a person miles and miles away. (This was the first I was hearing of something like this and to think of this is definitely scary to me.) Moreover, thinking of how Amazon recently released their expedite shipping service (2 hrs) using drones is also very surprising. Seeing what drones have come to today in 2015 I can only question and wonder what will come of them in the next 5 years.


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