EU to launch naval mission against smugglers

In reaction to the refugee tragedies, the EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed to launch a naval mission in the Mediterranean. Pending a corresponding UN mandate, the mission will begin destroying smugglers' boats as of June. The operation is worth a try, some commentators believe. Others criticise that it will only fight the symptoms of the crisis rather than the causes.

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Delo (SI) /

Only fighting the symptoms of refugee crisis

The EU's plans are utterly inadequate, the left-liberal daily Delo criticises: "A military mission against smuggler gangs will only address the symptoms of the crisis. After burying its head in the sand for years, the EU now needs a comprehensive solution and not just a military plan for policing its borders. At least in the initial phase, everything must be done to save the refugees at sea. If that doesn't happen, Europe will be putting its much vaunted humanistic values - the basis of European integration - on the line. ... And this comprehensive solution to the crisis on the Mediterranean must involve not just more solidarity among the European states, but also more solidarity with the Third World."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

MIlitary operation worth a try

Criticism that the planned military operation is inhumane is unjustified, the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "A continent that has been taking in hundreds of thousands of immigrants for years who aren't even victims of war is supposedly acting immorally if it tries to at least make things more difficult for the unscrupulous smuggler rings making millions out of others' plight? It's true that the causes for the waves of immigrants must be eradicated in the countries of origin. But that won't happen any time soon. … Therefore Europe must keep on disrupting the smuggling routes, just as is done on land whenever possible. How successful the planned military mission will be remains to be seen. But it's certainly worth a try. It's the smugglers who put these people's lives in danger at sea, not the Europeans."

Der Standard (AT) /

IS is the real target of military operation

The goals of the planned military operation extend further than saving refugee lives, the left-liberal daily Der Standard believes: "The use of military force to prevent further refugee tragedies in the Mediterranean is legitimate in principle. It would be completely cynical if the community of European states failed to use every means at its disposal to save the thousands of lives that are being put at risk with the chaotic flood of refugees from the war- and the crisis-torn regions of the Middle East and Northtz Africa. ... The destruction of smuggler boats has wider objectives, however. Here there is more at stake than the much discussed humanitarian aspects and the fate of refugees. In truth the governments fear that under the cover of the refugee crisis, the IS terrorists could take control of all Libya. This military mission also has security policy objectives."