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Europe Plans Military Response to Migrant Crisis

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, talks with European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini during a meeting with EU defense and foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday May 18, 2015. A European Union naval operation to go after the trafficking networks that send thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe could be launched in the coming weeks and NATO stands ready to help if needed, officials said Monday during a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, talks with European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini during a meeting with EU defense and foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday May 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Griff Witte, THE WASHINGTON POST

 

The European Union on Monday approved plans to use military force to take on migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean, significantly escalating Europe’s response to a crisis that has left at least 1,800 people dead this year.

The decision allows European governments to move ahead with plans for a naval operation that has been taking shape for weeks and that officials say is crucial to any attempt to confront the burgeoning tide of smuggler vessels ferrying migrants from North Africa to Europe.

The ultimate aim of the mission is to destroy smuggler vessels before they take on their human cargo. But that will require authorization from the U.N. Security Council, which has begun to consider the matter after E.U. officials made their case in New York last week.

 

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