EU’s Borrell seeks revival of Sophia naval mission off Libyan coast

Brussels – EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell calls on member states to relaunch the bloc’s Operation Sophia naval mission, originally aimed at stopping migrant trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea and enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya.

Asked whether the EU should resume its naval patrols under Operation Sophia, Borrell says: “I think we have to revive it, yes.” The naval aspect of the mission was suspended last year amid a fierce migration debate. It still trains the Libyan coast guard, however.

The naval patrol operations collapsed under pressure from former far-right Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn notes. “Salvini is gone. We must rebuild Sophia,” he adds.

Late on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointed to the terrible conditions migrants face in Libyan camps. “I cannot say that I consider the conditions to be inhuman, and then agree to people being taken back there. We’ll have to speak again about Sophia anyway,” he told the public ARD broadcaster.

The different warring parties and the sections in their control in Libya.