An EU version of Italy’s sea rescue mission for migrants is to be launched next month, in response to repeated calls from Rome for help in dealing with the human tide from Africa and the Middle East.
In Brussels the EU said its Frontex border agency would complement and eventually replace Italy’s “Mare Nostrum” operation, which Rome says costs 9.5 million euros a month.
The level of funding for the new European mission remains uncertain.
“The ‘Frontex Plus’ operation will substitute, take over Mare Nostrum, even if it will not be to the same extent. ‘Mare Nostrum’ has been very ambitious and we don’t know if we can find the means to do exactly what Italy has done,” said Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for Home Affairs.
The minister said resources for Frontex Plus would depend on additional contributions from governments.