This forms part of a wider EU approach to save lives and prevent further tragic events from unfolding in the Mediterranean, including the EU Agenda on Migration that links internal and external aspects of migration.
Speaking in Luxembourg EU High Representative and Vice President announced:
"Less than two month ago the European Council tasked us to prepare an operation in the Mediterranean to save lives, first of all, and disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers. The operation is being launched today. The target, let me be very clear, are not the migrants, the targets are those who are making money on their lives and too often on their deaths. It is part of our efforts to save lives."
"I am impressed with the unanimity and speed with which we managed to put this in place. […] This is a sign that the European Union is going to turn the page.", stressed Mogherini.
Over lunch ministers met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. 2015 is a crucial year for several UN conferences, including the meeting on a new agreement on climate change in Paris at the end of the year, the UN conference on financing development in Addis Ababa in July and the negotiations on the post-2015 development framework in New York.
Another focus of the discussions in Luxembourg were the European Union's relations with Asia, focusing on the Union's relations with China, deepening multilateral engagement, especially with ASEAN, and stepping up connectivity between both regions.
Ministers also had a strategic discussion on Energy, focusing on energy security as well as ways to reduce the Union's carbon footprint and making it a leader in renewable energy.
The Foreign Affairs council extended EU economic sanctions introduced in response to Russia's role in Ukraine until 31 January 2016
Links to Council Conclusions: