BRUSSELS, July 25. /TASS/. The European Union has extended until the end of December 2018 naval operation “Sofia” (EUNAVFOR MED) rescue of ships in distress with migrants and combating illegal smugglers in the Mediterranean. This was announced on Tuesday, the Council of the EU. In the framework of this operation are also two ancillary tasks – the training of staff of the coast guard for Libya, which is the starting area for heading to Europe for migrants, and monitoring compliance with the UN embargo on arms supplies to this country.

“On 25 July, the Council extended the mandate of “operation Sofia” until 31 December 2018. The EU Council also decided to establish a special mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of training employees of the coast guard of Libya, and collect information on the illegal export of crude oil from Libya,” the statement reads .

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According to official data, from October 2015, participating in the operation managed to arrest 110 people carriers to eliminate the 470 boats used to transport migrants, and also to save about 40 thousand people, who have suffered a disaster.

The extension of the mandate of this operation was postponed from the spring of this year, in particular, because of the position of Italy, which considers the operation extremely inefficient. In practice, warships EU rescue ships and boats with migrants closer and closer to the Libyan coast, and then saved themselves bring to the EU. The practical result of the actions of the European border guards has been the rapid decline in the quality of ships that migrants sent to sea: if in 2015 it was still old, but usually fitted for the sea fishing boats and barges, but now it is rafts and inflatable boats.

Since the beginning of this year the flow of migrants to the European Union once again began to grow rapidly. Their main route passes through the territory of Libya and the Mediterranean sea to Italy. According to the International organization for migration, the number of arrivals since the beginning of the year on this route has exceeded 95 thousand people. With more than 2.1 thousand were killed or missing in transit.

In the transit zone for migrants from all over Africa in Libya has become the destruction of all state structures in the country after the uprising in Benghazi in 2011, which provided active assistance of the NATO States, 8 months bomb controlled by government forces of Muammar Gaddafi territory. After the assassination of Gaddafi in autumn 2011, the rebel leaders could not agree among themselves about the division of power and the country was plunged into chaos.