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European Commission steps up action against human smuggling

(Xinhua) 09:26, September 30, 2021

BRUSSELS, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission has adopted a renewed action plan to fight human smuggling aimed at preventing organized exploitation of migrants and reducing irregular migration, Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said on Wednesday.

He told a press conference that the initiative is in line with the adoption of the proposal for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum which aims to promote sustainable and orderly management of migration.

Adopted one year ago, agreement on the new pact was still a long way ahead but Schinas said that although progress on the adoption of the pact was "painfully slow," some progress had been registered in discussions between member states.

The action plan will address persistent challenges in dismantling organized criminal groups, as well as the need to adapt to new challenges including state-sponsored migrant smuggling.

It will develop anti-smuggling operational partnerships with concrete tools, improve the implementation of the legal framework for sanctioning smugglers and for protection from exploitation, and increase research and data collection for a better understanding of migration trends and the "modus operandi" of criminal networks.

"We have a renewed action plan against migrant smuggling. Building on the work we have done in recent years in fighting smugglers, now we want to step up our work and break the business model of the smugglers," Schinas said.

Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson added that despite the "important progress" on the new pact, the recent events underlined the urgency of making progress on the screening of all those arriving in the EU.

"Agreeing on our resettlement framework regulation will help Europe have a stronger voice on the global scene by showing how we and Member States are practically offering protection to people in need. We have balance, now we need delivery," Johansson said. 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)

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