• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

France wants UN support to destroy migrant boats

The Local/AFP · 24 Apr 2015, 08:39

Published: 24 Apr 2015 08:39 GMT+02:00

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday he will seek a UN resolution authorising the EU to destroy boats used by traffickers to send thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.

"We will look at all the options for seeking out and destroying these boats... that can only be done under a UN resolution (on which) France will take the initiative with others," Hollande said after an emergency EU summit on the recent upsurge in migrants risking their lives to reach European shores.

European leaders had gathered in Brussels to discuss new strategies in the wake of the latest disaster on Sunday, in which hundreds of migrants drowned when their boat capsized on the way from Libya to Italy.

The high pressure meeting in Brussels came as the EU comes under fire for failing to do enough to protect the migrants, hundreds of whom have died in recent days, as they took the perilous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean.

EU leaders pledgedto triple the funding for the search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Following the summit Britain, France and Germany said they would offer ships and aircraft for the maritime search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean sea.

The UK will send HMS Bulwark to the area,while Germany offered one frigate and 10 ships.

France is believed to have committed a plane for a fortnight in September and a patrol boat for the month of November.

Much of the political rhetoric in recent days has focused on the people smugglers operating along the North African coastline, described by Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi as "the slave traders of the 21st century".

EU leaders have decided to draw up plans to hit the people smuggling networks and destroy the boats they use to get migrants across the sea.

Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign and security policy coordinator, was charged with drawing up a military mission blueprint, but it could take months to finalize. 

But experts see any attempt to tackle the problem militarily as doomed to fail.

"This problem is totally unsolvable with military means," Alain Coldefy, a retired French admiral, told AFP.

"Politicians have on several occasions asked me the question of what could be done to stop this trafficking by force, and the response is simple: nothing," he said.

"Once these boats loaded with migrants have left Libyan waters, we can only apply international rules, which means rescuing people."

Story continues below…

Marines are not trained or equipped to launch operations against these kind of boats, Coldefy added. Nor do they have an option of firing on them.

Aid organizations across Europe have heavily criticized the EU in recent weeks of not acting out of fear of the "pull effect" and the worry that thousands more migrants would attempt to get to Europe if the route became safer.

Medecins du Monde has heavily criticized France and other EU countries for having a policy of not improving the welcome and protection offered to asylum seekers out of fear that it will simply encourage more to come.

“This argument is dead now. We can’t accept it anymore," Jean-François Corty told The Local.

“These people will try anything to get to Europe and the government needs to take measures that correspond to this reality and to protect these people,” he added.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France set for scorcher as heatwave continues
Photo: AFP

It's going to be a warm Wednesday, with temperatures forecast to soar across the whole country.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Top court set to probe France's burqini ban
Photo: AFP

Is the burqini ban legal? France will soon find out.

Heatwave warnings extended as France keeps sizzling
Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Summer is back, and Paris is among the areas hit the hardest.

200 street signs in France mysteriously 'blacked out'
Photo: thecrazyfilmgirl/Flickr

Town officials have come to a dead end.

Woman fined for wearing headscarf on Cannes beach
File photo: Loic Venance/AFP

Headscarves should not be included under the recent burqini ban, but one woman says she was fined and insulted for wearing the hijab.

Paris tourism has lost €750 million since terror attacks
Tourists outside the Louvre. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

A Paris tourist chief has called it "an industrial catastrophe".

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes
Photo: AFP

A Sudanese man has died in Calais after a fight with other refugees.

Three held in France for plotting terror attacks
Police officers during an anti-terrorism operation last month. Photo: AFP

Authorities have arrested seven people this month with links to terrorist networks, three of whom were planning attacks.

Majority in France against immigration
Migrants at an aid centre outside the Calais 'Jungle' camp. Photo: AFP

A new survey shows the French have some of the most negative views towards immigration worldwide.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,734
jobs available