High Representative Federica Mogherini spoke to the UN Security Council in New York about the crisis of migrants in the Mediterranean on Monday 11th May. "We are here to share with you the urgent need to face the tragedies unfolding in the Mediterranean" she said. "We are here to act immediately and to act together. We need an exceptional response. The European Union is finally ready to take its own responsibilities: saving lives, welcoming refugees, addressing the root causes of the phenomenon, dismantling criminal organisations".
The High Representative informed the UNSC of the actions against the trafficking of migrants suggested by the European Council on 23rd April.
"The European Council decided to strengthen immediately the European Union presence at sea, enforcing the existing operations Triton and Poseidon. Their capacities are being strengthened by trebling the financial resources available to them and the sending of additional maritime assets.
European leaders, on that occasion, also asked me to propose actions to disrupt the business model of human trafficking networks across the Mediterranean. Let me quote the statement of the European Council on 23 April, asking "…the High Representative to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers in accordance with international law".
With this, my presence here at the Security Council today is so important for us. We have in these weeks prepared for a possible naval operation in the framework of the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy. The mandate of this operation is currently being elaborated with the EU Member States in Brussels, and will be discussed by the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, in a week from now, in exactly a week from now on 18 May, with a possibility of taking decisions, the first decisions already. We want to work with the United Nations, in particular with the UNSC. We also want to work with the UNHCR".
She pointed out the critical situation in Libya, both a source and a transit point for migrants. "The vast majority of human trafficking and smuggling in these months is happening in Libya, or rather, through Libya. As long as there is not a Unity Government that can exercise its legitimate authority over the entire territory of the country and its land and sea borders, the situation is likely to continue this way. The European Union is politically, logistically, financially supporting the peace process. I am myself in close, daily, contact with Bernadino León (UN envoy to Libya) in this respect".
"We need to work together in partnership, Europeans and Libyans to fight trafficking and smuggling organisations. This is a Libyan interest and responsibility, this is a Mediterranean interest and responsibility, this is a European interest and responsibility, this is also an African interest and responsibility and I would say, it is a global interest and responsibility. We don't and won't act against anyone but in partnership with all".
Talking to the press the High Representative also mentioned that on Wednesday 13th of May the European Commission will present a new European Agenda on Migration, offering solutions for refugees and migrants and to improve search and rescue operations through Triton and Poseidon.
Video Security Council
Video Press conference