The European Union and its Member States have progressively put in place a comprehensive external migration policy. Saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business models of smugglers and traffickers, providing legal pathways as well as addressing the root causes of irregular migration are at the very heart of the EU's policies.
A few examples. Operation Sophia, the EU's naval operation to break the cruel business model of migrants smuggles and human traffickers, has apprehended 151 suspected traffickers and smugglers and 551 vessels from criminal organisations. Under the EU's Emergency Trust Fund for Africa a total of 165 programmes and initiatives, worth EUR 3.157 billion, are in place to provide protection to migrants along the routes, strengthen resilience as well as improve economic and employment programmes. And the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration has provided more than 50,000 migrants with post-arrival reception and reintegration assistance since the start of the Joint Initiative.
At the afternoon press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council, Federica Mogherini reported on the "excellent exchange" with Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, "highlighting the strategic partnership the European Union has with the United Nations in this issue".
"We decided to preserve some of the good results we have already achieved, strengthen our cooperation with the UN and with our partners, namely the African Union and the countries of origin and transit, finance more our EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for projects along the routes. Here I made an appeal to Member States to contribute more to the Trust Fund and also to focus on new ways in which we can address the shifting of migration routes elsewhere from the Central Mediterranean one", the High Representative added.