EU approves plans for naval operation to tackle migrant smugglers
The European Union has reportedly approved plans to conduct a military operation to tackle the human trafficking networks that smuggle migrants through the Mediterranean Sea.
With this new development, EU will be able to start using ships, drones, and helicopters in order to collect intelligence about smugglers.
The EU has plans to capture smugglers and destroy their boats off the Libyan coast to prevent increasing number of irregular crossing attempts. In order to implement this, the UN will have to give its approval to operate close inshore to a country.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said: "The fundamental point is not so much the destruction of the vessels but it is the destruction of the business model of the traffickers.
"As summer comes, more people are travelling, and I'd like to have the operation in place as soon as possible."
The naval operation is expected to start in June this year.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, approximately 51,000 migrants have entered Europe this year, while more than 1,800 migrants have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
The EU previously announced plans to take in 20,000 more refugees over the next two years.
In April this year, the UK sent its Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark, three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters and two civilian border patrol boats to the Mediterranean Sea to help tackle the refugee crisis.
This decision came after a recent shipwreck, which resulted in the deaths of more than 700 people after a fishing boat carrying migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
Meanwhile, European Union law enforcement agency Europol launched joint operational team (JOT) Mare in March this year, in a bid to combat irregular migration through the Mediterranean Sea.