some default text...
Operation Sophia: a failed mission Contents

Chapter 2: Operation Sophia’s mandate

8.On 20 June 2016 the Council of the European Union adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/993, which extended the mandate of Operation Sophia until 27 July 2017.12 The mission was defined as:

“A military crisis management operation contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFORMED operation SOPHIA), achieved by undertaking systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels and assets used or suspected of being used by smugglers and traffickers.”13

9.While “retaining the focus on its core mandate”, Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/993 also added two “supporting tasks”: capacity building, training and information sharing with the Libyan coastguard and navy; and contributing to information sharing, as well as the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya.14

10.Operation Sophia is divided into the following phases:

Both Phases 2B and 3 would require a Resolution of the UN Security Council or consent by the Libyan government.15

11.Operation Sophia is framed within a comprehensive EU approach to migration.16 On 25 January 2017 the Joint Communication of the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Migration on the Central Mediterranean route—managing flows, saving lives, set out the EU’s overall approach to stemming migration on the central Mediterranean route.17 This described “reducing the number of crossings and saving lives by enhancing ongoing support, including through EUNAVFOR Operation Sophia, to the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy”, as one of the “key objectives” of the EU’s approach.18

12.On 3 February 2017 the Malta Declaration by the members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration: addressing the Central Mediterranean route welcomed the Joint Communication, and confirmed the Council’s determination “to take additional action to significantly reduce migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean route and break the business model of smugglers”.19

Assets and resourcing

13.Operation Sophia currently has access to six ships (one landing platform dock, one auxiliary ship, one survey ship, and three frigates), three helicopters, and four aircraft.20

14.25 EU Member States are contributors to the mission.21 Mr Simon Jones, Deputy Head, Euro Atlantic Security Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said that the UK had “been a very strong, indeed leading, contributor to Operation Sophia” to date.22 Currently, one British survey ship is deployed to the mission.23

15.The reference amount for the common costs of Operation Sophia from 28 July 2016 to 27 July 2017 is €6.7 million. The mission’s military assets and personnel are provided by contributing Member States, and both running and personnel costs are met on a national basis.24


12 Council Decision 2016/993 of 20 June 2016 amending decision 2015/778 on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA), OJ L 162/18 (21 June 2016)

13 Article 1, Council Decision 2016/993 of 20 June 2016 amending decision 2015/778 on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA), OJ L 162/18 (21 June 2016)

14 Council Decision 2016/993 of 20 June 2016 amending decision 2015/778 on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA), OJ L 162/18 (21 June 2016)

15 Article 1, Council Decision 2015/778 of 18 May 2015 on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED), OJ L 122/31 (19 May 2015)

16 European Commission, ‘Global Approach to Migration and Mobility’: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/international-affairs/global-approach-to-migration_en [accessed 27 June 2017]

17 Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council on Migration on the Central Mediterranean route Managing flows, saving lives, JOIN (2017) 4 final

18 European Commission, ‘Managing migration along the Central Mediterranean Route—Commission contributes to Malta discussion’ (25 January 2017): http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-134_en.htm [accessed 27 June 2017]

19 European Council, ‘Malta Declaration by the members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration: addressing the Central Mediterranean route’ (3 February 2017): http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/01/03-malta-declaration/ [accessed 27 June 2017]

20 European Union External Action Service (EEAS), Factsheet on EUNAVFOR MED mission (19 June 2017): https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eunavfor_med_-_mission_19_june_2017_en.pdf [accessed 27 June 2017]

21 The three Member States that do not contribute to the mission are Denmark, Croatia, and Ireland. EEAS, Factsheet on EUNAVFOR MED mission (19 June 2017): https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eunavfor_med_-_mission_19_june_2017_en.pdf [accessed 27 June 2017]

23 EEAS, Factsheet on EUNAVFOR MED mission (19 June 2017): https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eunavfor_med_-_mission_19_june_2017_en.pdf [accessed 27 June 2017]

24 EEAS, Factsheet on EUNAVFOR MED mission (19 June 2017): https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eunavfor_med_-_mission_19_june_2017_en.pdf [accessed 27 June 2017]




© Parliamentary copyright 2017