articleimg-1
Feb 18, 2020

FM: The EU will launch a new operation to combat people smuggling

The foreign minister said Hungary insists on the policy of suspending the operation and withdrawing ships from the region if it appears that migration is increasing as a result.

The foreign minister has revealed that the European Union is launching a new operation to combat people smuggling in the Mediterranean after Operation Sophia expires in March.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, noted that the new operation will focus on enforcing the arms embargo against Libya. It will also make use of airborne, satellite and seafaring equipment.

On the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Minister Szijjártó told MTI that Hungary shares Italy’s and Austria’s view that the deployment of ships could end up aiding migration if operations branch off into rescue missions. He said the new operation must not be allowed to become an incentive to migrants.

The minister said Hungary insists on the policy of suspending the operation and withdrawing ships from the region if it appears that migration is increasing as a result, adding that Hungary insisted that the decision to withdraw should be left with member states. This stance has been accepted in the debates leading up to future deployments at sea.

In regard to EU’s Africa strategy, Minister Szijjártó said African countries should be helped to retain their growing populations in their homelands. “We have to boost the retention capabilities of African countries as their population grows. That takes investment, technological aid and training,” he said.

Photo credit: infostart.hu