BRUSSELS — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):
The Italian government has approved sending Italian naval units to help Libya’s coast guard combat migrant trafficking.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni said Friday that the measure, requested by the Libyan government, represents “a significant contribution to reinforcing Libyan sovereignty. It is not an operation that we take against Libya sovereignty.”
Details of the operation, including rules of engagement, were not disclosed following the Cabinet’s approval, but Gentiloni said Italy would not “be sending a huge fleet or air squadrons.”
The operation will be considered by parliamentary commissions next week, and Gentiloni said he hoped it would receive broad parliamentary approval.
The measure is part of efforts to combat migrant trafficking, which is sending hundreds of thousands of migrants toward Italy.
The European Union has announced 46 million euros ($53 million) in funding to help boost Libya’s border and coast guards, as part of moves to stem the flow of migrants leaving the country’s shores heading for Europe.
The EU announced the program Friday, saying it will be implemented by Italy, the country where most migrants leaving Libya arrive. The program will provide equipment and training to Libyan coast and border guards.
EU Foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says that while the EU works to help end Libya’s political crisis, the bloc will continue assisting Libyan authorities “in their capacity to address the migration flows, rescue migrants, making sure that human rights are respected, and fight against the smuggling networks.”