Ahead of the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council (Home Affairs) of 25 November 2022, the Commission is presenting an EU Action Plan on the Central Mediterranean. Whilst emphasising that structural solutions will only be found through agreement on the full set of asylum and migration reforms currently being negotiated, the Commission is proposing a series of operational measures to address the immediate and ongoing challenges along the Central Mediterranean migratory route.

The Action Plan proposes a series of 20 measures articulated around three pillars that will be taken forward by the EU and its Member States. They are designed to reduce irregular and unsafe migration, provide solutions to the emerging challenges in the area of search and rescue and reinforce solidarity balanced against responsibility between Member States. The full Action Plan can be found here.

Pillar One: Working with partner countries and international organisations
Reinforced cooperation with partner countries and international organisations is key to address migration challenges. The EU will strengthen the capacities of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to ensure better border management and management of migration. It will reinforce the fight against migrant smuggling and enhance diplomatic engagement on returns, while stepping up legal pathways to the EU. To coordinate these actions and maximise their impact, the EU will make better use of its coordination structures and launch a dedicated Team Europe initiative on the Central Mediterranean before the end of this year.

Pillar two: A more coordinated approach on search and rescue
The Action Plan proposes measures to strengthen cooperation between Member States and all actors involved in search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean, using the European Contact Group on Search and Rescue that was announced as part of the New Pact. Frontex, together with the concerned Member States, will carry out an assessment of the situation in the Central Mediterranean. Closer coordination will be ensured with the UNHCR and IOM. Discussions should also be promoted in the International Maritime Organization on the need for a specific framework and guidelines for vessels with a particular focus on search and rescue activities.

Pillar three: Reinforcing the implementation of the Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism and the Joint Roadmap
The Solidarity Declaration agreed on 22 June 2022 provides a voluntary and temporary mechanism for one year, bridging towards the future permanent system under the Pact. The Action Plan proposes to accelerate the implementation of the mechanism, including to provide swift support to Member States receiving arrivals by sea, enhancing flexibility, streamlining processes, and implementing the financing of alternative measures of solidarity.

Source: European Commission

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