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New phase of EU Mediterranean operation to be discussed at UN General Assembly — diplomat

September 11, 2015, 16:51 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
EU understands that it needs UN Security Council resolution to ensure necessary legitimacy to this idea
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© AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa

BRUSSELS, September 11. /TASS/. Launching a new phase of EU’s naval military operation in the Mediterranean Sea will be discussed at the UN General Assembly, Russia’s envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told TASS on Friday.

"I think that launching the new phase of EU’s operation in the Mediterranean Sea will become the topic for discussion during contacts in the framework of the upcoming session of UN General Assembly in New York," Chizhov said.

"At the last informal meeting in Luxembourg [on September 2-3], EU’s defense ministers agreed that it is time to end the first phase of the operation that was basically confined to planning, and start the second phase - deploying their ships and monitoring vessels carrying migrants. The third phase in theory will be detaining [vessels] in international waters, and the fourth - expansion of actions against traffickers to territorial waters of Libya," the diplomat continued.

"Statistically, 90% of deadly accidents with sinking and overturning vessels with migrants occur in Libya’s territorial waters. Those bandits that put people into fragile boats - they are not going to take them to Europe. They got their money, that’s it. If someone makes it by himself, let him do it. Oftentimes they do not even get enough fuel - why bother," he noted.

"In general, Europeans are already saving migrants in Libyan territorial waters. They can save them, but they can detain, let alone destroy, ships in the territorial waters of another country only with permission of that country. So, here they have a vicious circle - what is Libya today, where is its government?" Chizhov stressed.

"Consequently, EU understands that it needs UN Security Council resolution to ensure necessary legitimacy to this idea. Such resolution can be taken on international waters even without Libyan government’s consent. It will sanctions detention and control of vessels without a flag or under flags of countries that supported the UN Security Council resolution," the diplomat said.

Reasons of migrant crisis

Systemic weaknesses of the Schengen zone contributed to the migrant crisis, Chizhov emphasized. "The migrant situation is very complicated for the European Union today, but it is not really that big of a surprise," he said. He reminded that over the last two decades, EU has been implementing two large-scale, serious and difficult projects - introduction of the euro currency and common space without borders - Schengen.

"Both projects had systemic weaknesses. Talking about the euro, the EU did not develop a unified fiscal policy when introducing a single currency. It remained in the competence of member countries. The current situation in Greece is the clear demonstration of this inherent vice," he explained.

"Something similar happened to the second project - Schengen. Europeans outlined everything - how those who live ‘behind the fence’ can obtain visas, how they should undergo fingerprinting and even how many hours can a driver spend behind the truck wheel in the European Union. But they did not come up with anything when it comes to granting asylum. And the policy of asylum remained in the national competence. Due to several objective and subjective reasons, this policy differs a lot in different EU countries," Chizhov said.

According to the Russian diplomat, the possibility to reach a compromise on migration problems is undermined by "difference of mentalities" inside EU caused by "another European systemic miscalculation." "I mean explosive expansion of EU in 2004 when 10 East European countries were simultaneously accepted, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and Croatia in 2013. As a result, countries and societies with very different mentalities are part of the European Union now," he noted.

"Consequently, all attempts to evenly distribute on EU territory only 40,000 people from half-a-million people that have come there from the beginning of the year, proved unsuccessful," the Russian envoy concluded.

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