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Operation Sophia: What steps could EU take?

8 March 2016

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee is taking evidence from an expert in maritime strategy, as well as the Guardian's migration correspondent, as part of its investigation into the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia.


Thursday 10 March in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

At 10.05am

  • Mr Peter Roberts, Senior Research Fellow, Sea Power and Maritime Studies, Royal United Services Institute
  • Mr Patrick Kingsley, Migration Correspondent, Guardian Media Group

Likely areas of discussion

The Committee discusses the mandate for Operation Sophia, the business model of smuggling and trafficking, and what lessons can be learned from further afield.

Possible questions

Questions the Committee is likely to put to the witness include:

  • Can you explain to us the business model of smuggling in Libya in particular – who are the smugglers and traffickers and what are the scale of profits involved? Do you have any information on the financial flows?
  • Operation Sophia is a military crisis management operation. It is not primarily a search and rescue mission but it had by January 2016, rescued over 8400 migrants. How would you assess the EU's search and rescue capabilities?
  • What steps could the EU take to make Operation Sophia more workable and effective? Should the mandate be revised and if so, in what ways?
  • In your view, what are the gaps in the EU's repatriation policy? Is the EU taking sufficient steps to support Operation Sophia with the infrastructure necessary such as readmission agreements?
  • What are the key lessons to be learnt from further afield from other such military missions—such as the US Coast Guard (in the Caribbean) and the Royal Australian Navy?
  • How does Operation Sophia fit into the spectrum of actors responding to the refugee and migrant crisis such as Frontex, the Italian coastguard and NATO?

Further information

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