The European Commission on Wednesday floated news measures to curb the inflow of illegal migrants from North Africa, eying to save lives at sea and step up fights against human smugglers’ networks.

At a college meeting on the commission contribution to the Valleta Summit slated for Feb. 3, the Commission and EU foreign policy chief Federico Mogherini presented a number of additional measures to strengthen the bloc’s work along the central Mediterranean route, which links North Africa with Italy.

“Too many people are still dying in the Mediterranean. We have implemented actions to address the situation but we need to do more,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Stressing the importance of stability in Libya and the region as a whole, Juncker said the EU will “take forward actions to help make a difference, save lives and break the smugglers’ and traffickers’ business model.”

To save lives at sea, the EU will expand the training activities for the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy through aid programs.

To step up fights against human smuggling and trafficking networks, the EU will ensure an operational “Seahorse Mediterranean” Network by Spring 2017, so as to strengthen the border authorities of North African countries and allow better operational cooperation among them.

“There is no magic solution to manage migration, but there’re things to be done,” said Mogherini.

The EU also plans to carry on improving the living conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and neighbouring countries, aiming to address the root causes of migration.

The commission paid more attention to the central Mediterranean route after the figure of asylum-seekers has nosedived in the eastern Mediterranean route since a EU-Turkey deal took effect last year.

Over 181,000 migrants and refugees, most of whom use Libya as a springboard, arrived to the EU in 2016 through the central Mediterranean route.

As the deadliest route for migrants last year, the central Mediterranean route claimed the lives of 4,576 people, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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