Today, 5 July 2018, a Crime Information Cell has been activated on board EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia Task Force operating in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Following the EU Council decision adopted 14 May, five specialised personnel from EU agencies Europol, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, and EUNAVFOR Med have been embarked on board of Flagship of EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia, Italian Navy Ship San Giusto, moored in Augusta.
The establishment of the Crime Information Cell opens a new chapter in operational cooperation between Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) actors that will strengthen their collective effectiveness and operational impact.
The Crime Information Cell will further enhance the exchange of information on criminal activity in the Central Mediterranean and will provide a platform to make full use of the Agencies’ unique capabilities to disrupt criminal networks in the area of EUNAVFOR MED operation and beyond.
The Crime Information Cell will facilitate the collection and transmission of information on human smuggling and trafficking, the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya, illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya in accordance with UNSCR 2146 (2014) and 2362 (2017), as well as criminal activity relevant to the security of the operation itself.
The involvement of Frontex in the Crime Information Cell will serve the development of a comprehensive intelligence picture on human smuggling and trafficking of human beings and others forms of cross-border criminal activity, including terrorism. The information provided by the Crime Information Cell will also enhance Frontex’s border control and surveillance capacity at the external borders of the EU.
The deployment of Frontex’s Mobile Debriefing Team will offer new opportunities to collect information about the methods used by criminal groups and enhance operational and strategic analysis conducted by Frontex, Europol and EUNAVFOR Med.
In close cooperation with the Crime Information Cell partners and EU Member States, Europol will further work to provide effective support to transnational investigations with a focus on organised migrant smuggling as well as international serious and organised criminality and terrorism by making the frontline information and intelligence available to European investigators. Furthermore, Europol will make all its resources available to EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia to support the tactical operational decision and contribute to the effectiveness of the operation’s mandate.
The project’s trial period will last six months. At the end of trial period, the lessons from the pilot project would also be used to inform future CSDP-JHA cooperation in a wider context.
EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia (ENFM) is a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation focused on disrupting the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers, and contributing to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and the Central Mediterranean region. ENFM is the first EU maritime force providing maritime security in the Central Mediterranean and works closely with different national, international, governmental and non-governmental, civilian and military organisations.