Migrants: Italy can close Sophia if it wants, Avramopoulos

EU Commissioner says mission a success

23 January, 16:52

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, JANUARY 23 - The EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, on Wednesday said that, ''if Italy, the country that hosts and has the command of the mission, wants to stop operation Sophia, it can take this decision''. Avramopoulos was speaking after Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean to fight human trafficking must be scrapped unless the rules are changed.

    The commissioner added that ''Sophia is a successful operation and should continue''.

    ''The fate of operation Sophia has not been decided yet'', Avramopoulos also said. ''Contacts with member states are still ongoing'', he noted, stressing that the operation is ''successful''.

    Talking about Germany, the EU commissioner said: ''I want to be very clear, there is no question of Germany's suspension in the Sophia mission, the withdrawal of the ship had been planned as a routine for February this year. It is up to Germany to decide how to deploy its means''. Berlin will continue to participate, the commissioner assured, and there are not indications that it will not be participating in future.


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