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EU to strengthen response to migrant smuggling

Published : 29 Nov 2023, 00:42

  DF News Desk
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen arrives for the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 26, 2023. File Photo: Xinhua.

The European Union (EU) will update the legislative framework and reinforce the role of concerned agencies in a bid to strengthen its response to migrant smuggling, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday, reported Xinhua.

"We will work together to: update EU legislation and apply the protocol against migrant smuggling; strengthen the role of Europol; upgrade the European centre against migrant smuggling; intensify cooperation with partner countries to tackle this issue globally," she said.

The proposed updated legislative framework will prevent and counter the facilitation of unauthorized entry, transit and stay in the EU, according to the Commission.

It will do so by focusing on the effective prosecution of organized criminal networks with a clearer definition of the smuggling offence; on harmonized penalties with an increase of jail time from 8 to 15 years maximum behind bars; on an improved jurisdictional reach for EU member states; on reinforcing EU member states' resourcing and capacities in the fight against migrant smuggling; and on improving data collection and reporting.

On top of the proposed regulations, the European Commission also launched a "Call to Action for a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling."

"Migrant smuggling is a global, common challenge. We need to pull our weight together. Start a new era of cooperation with a Global Alliance to fight smugglers. Give a better chance to millions of people. So, we are launching a call to action, open to all who want to join us," von der Leyen said.

She opened the International Conference on a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling here on Tuesday, with the aim of strengthening international cooperation against migrant smuggling.

The conference, attended by representatives of countries of origin, transit and destination, focused on prevention, response and alternatives to irregular migration as a key deterrent for migrant smuggling.