According to a leaked draft EU document (see below) the EU game plan for the Mediterranean refugee crisis is simple: take in a few refugees, deport en-mass the remainder (the vast majority), send in gunships to patrol the coast off Libya and destroy (burn, bomb, or whatever) vessels that are believed to belong to people smugglers. The overall result will be containment of refugees in the war-torn and conflict areas across north Africa and the Middle East. Funding to tackle the refugee crisis will be doubled, though the money will not be going to search and rescue services but to Frontex and the Triton and Poseidon operations that will primarily be responsible for increasing surveillance of the waters off North Africa and deporting the refugees back to the country of origin.
Here, courtesy of Statewatch, is the leaked draft European Union statement on its agreed strategy for dealing with the refugee problem. The draft is in relation to this week’s emergency meeting of the EU to decide on what next to do about the refugee crisis.
UPDATE: here is the final statement by the EU Summit.
Also, courtesy of Statewatch, is a legal analysis of the proposals made prior to the draft document and the strategic importance of the Mediterranean from a US perspective. Here, also, are comments by Alan Travis and Ian Traynor.
(Here is the 10 Point Plan, put together on 20 April and upon which the European Union emergency meeting has based today’s recommendations.)
Only 5000 refugee places will be reserved for those trying to get to Europe. Most resources will be deployed on containment by identifying, capturing and destroying vessels before they are used by traffickers. This, of course, will leave the war refugees stranded.
Britain will be dispatching the assault ship, HMS Bulwark, to patrol the Libyan coast. The vessel has the capability of destroying any people smuggling boats.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours 800 refugees have landed on Greek Aegean islands, most from Somalia or Syria. Over 12,000 have arrived in Greece this way since the beginning of the year (though many believe the true figure is closer to 20,000). Near bankrupt Greece, together with Italy and Malta, are asking the northern EU countries to provide funds to help deal with the migrant flow. Greece recently opened its doors to all those migrants kept in detention facilities by the previous government.