On 3 November 2016, Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre together with the Italian authorities organised an expert meeting in Rome focusing on migrant smuggling networks operating from North Africa on the Central Mediterranean route.
Representatives of affected EU Member States and partners (Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, Great Britain, Malta, Switzerland), European Commission, Eurojust, EUNAVFORMED, EUBAM Libya, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), IOM and INTERPOL, along with experts from North African countries (Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) attended the event, actively contributing to the roundtable discussions or with presentations providing valuable insight into the migrant smuggling phenomenon.
The meeting was initiated as part of the EMPACT priority, Facilitated Illegal Immigration, in line with the current objectives of the European Commission and Slovak Presidency.
Gennaro Capoluongo, the Head of the International Cooperation Service from the Italian Police, highlighted Europol’s contribution to the fight against migrant smuggling: “The role of Europol is fundamental in this initiative aimed at tackling illegal immigration”.
All participants concluded that effective action against migrant smuggling relies on joint cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries, as well as on a swift information exchange between law enforcement partners. It was also emphasized throughout the session that the timely exchange of information between affected partners could contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon and enable a more efficient response to the rapidly developing situations. To facilitate this, an informal network of experts from the relevant stakeholders is expected to establish under the coordination of the Italian Authorities.