30 May 2014

The European Commission has published an update regarding initiatives linked to the recommendations of the Task Force Mediterranean, established to identify measures to prevent migrant deaths at sea in response to the Lampedusa tragedy in October 2013, when 366 migrants died.

The update describes the actions being taken under the five identified main areas: reinforced border surveillance; assistance and solidarity between Member States; regional protection programmes, resettlement and legal ways for migrants to access Europe; cooperation with third countries; and the fight against trafficking, smuggling and organised crime.

Regarding border surveillance, the actions listed include the Italian operation ‘Mare Nostrum’, which has rescued thousands of refugees and migrants since it started in October 2013, the new Regulation on Frontex-coordinated sea operations, and the use of EUROSUR to improve information exchange between border officials.

Regarding legal ways to access Europe, the communication underlines that the commitment of the European Union for resettlement and humanitarian admissions reached 15,000 refugees in 2014.

Regarding cooperation with third countries, the document underlines the implementation of the mobility Partnerships with Morocco and Tunisia, the signature of the EU readmission agreement with Turkey which still needs to be ratified and implemented, the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) and capacity building in the field of border management in Libya. Furthermore, regional protection programmes through direct assistance and support for national systems are being implemented in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and North Africa.

The update is accompanied by a more detailed annex of activities.

The European Council will review the work of the Task Force in June, when strategic guidelines for further legislative and operational planning in the area of freedom, security and justice will be defined.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 May 2014.
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