The Council had a discussion on the communication of the Commission on the work of the Task Force Mediterranean (17398/13 : http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-is-new/news/news/docs/20131204_communication_on_the_work_of_the_task_force_mediterranean_en.pdf) and welcomed the set of actions contained in the document.
The task force identified five main areas of action which will be pursued actively during the coming months:
– Actions in cooperation with third countries.
– Regional protection, resettlement and reinforced legal avenues to Europe.
– Fight against trafficking, smuggling and organised crime.
– Reinforced border surveillance contributing to enhancing maritime situational picture and to the protection of saving of lives of migrants in the Mediterranean.
– Assistance and solidarity with member states dealing with high migration pressure.
The Presidency will report to the European Council in December on the matter.
The Task Force Mediterranean was set up following the JHA Council of 7-8 October 2013 in order to identify the tools which the EU has at its disposal and which could be used in a more effective way to avoid the tragic events that had occurred off the coast of Lampedusa.
At its meeting on 24-25 October, the European Council agreed to take the appropriate measures in order to prevent and to avoid that such tragedies happen again, guided by the imperative of prevention and protection and guided by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility (cf. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/139197.pdf).
The European Council invited the Task Force Mediterranean, lead by the Commission and involving member states, the EEAS and a number of EU Agencies to identify priority actions for a more efficient short term use of European policies and tools. It asked the Commission to report on the work of the TFM to the Council on 5 December 2013 with a view to taking operational decisions. It also asked the Presidency to report to the European Council in December 2013.