The EU has given the green light for the next phase of action against people traffickers in the Mediterranean.
"This important transition will enable the EU naval operation against human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking, within international law," said a statement from the Council of the European Union.
The Council yesterday adopted a positive assessment that the conditions to move to the first step of phase two on the high seas of EUNAVFOR MED have been met, the naval operation having fulfilled all military objectives related to phase 1 focusing on the collection and analysis of information and intelligence.
This assessment allows the operation to transition "phase 2 on the high seas and will be followed soon by a force generation conference and approval of rules of engagement for phase 2 on the high seas".
Once these rules are agreed and the Operation Commander indicates he has the required assets, EU Ambassadors within the Political and Security Committee will decide when to launch the first step of phase 2.
(Source: EU Neighbourhood Info)