EU naval mission: what does it mean and what is the main problem

The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini pushed on Monday for a naval mission in the Mediterranean to target Libyans smuggling people to Europe. (Reuters)

There will be mainly two phases:

  1. An intelligence-gathering operation will herald the mission’s first phase, and
  2. Hostile vessels suspected of harbouring migrants could be boarded, searched, seized or disposed of in Libyan territory or international waters. (The Guardian)

The main problem is that without UN authorisation, the EU’s naval mission, which will be headquartered in Rome, will not have the mandate to intervene in Libyan territorial waters to seize vessels.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, urged Europe to move, saying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group might be “also trying to hide, to blend in among the migrants” in order to get to Europe. (Al Jazeera)