EU extends ‘shipless’ Mediterranean naval mission for 6 months
The European Union is prolonging the mandate of its naval operation against human traffickers in the Mediterranean Sea for six months. However, the bloc still plans to scour its waters without any ships, AP reported.
Italy’s previous government blocked Operation Sophia from using ships because its vessels were occasionally used to rescue migrants. Planes and drones are still in action.
Extending Sophia’s mandate until March 31, EU headquarters said on Thursday that “the deployment of the Operation’s naval assets will remain temporarily suspended.”
Aid groups have cited the seemingly absurd prospect of a naval operation without any boats and accuse the EU of abandoning people seeking refuge in Europe. Over a million migrants entered Europe in 2015. Arrivals into Italy are now at their lowest levels for several years.