EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling (2015-2020)

The Plan for 2015-2020 sets out concrete actions to prevent and counter migrant smuggling. Actions include setting up a list of suspicious vessels, enhancing exchange of information with financial institutions and cooperating with internet service providers and social media.

This first EU Action Plan sets out concrete actions to counter and prevent migrant smuggling, while ensuring the protection of the human rights of migrants. It is based on a multidisciplinary approach, involving actors and institutions at local, regional, national and international level. It covers all phases and types of migrant smuggling, and all migratory routes.

The Action Plan should be seen in the broader context of EU efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration, in cooperation with countries of origin and transit, and prevent the loss of lives caused by smugglers and traffickers.

The Plan foresees:

  • Enhanced police and judicial response: including a revision of EU legislation on migrant smuggling by 2016, the establishment of a list of suspicious vessels and monitoring of these vessels, support to member States for towing to shore boats intended to be used by smugglers or disposing of them at sea, launching cooperation with financial institutions to set up financial investigations, the establishment of a single point of contact on migrant smuggling in each Member State and the creation of a Eurojust thematic group on migrant smuggling.
  • Improved gathering and sharing of information: including the deployment of European migration liaison officers in key EU delegations, evaluation in 2016 and possible revision of EU legislation of Immigration Liaison Officers, strengthening of JOT MARE as EU information hub on migrant smuggling, further development of Africa Frontex Intelligence Community, enhanced monitoring of pre-frontier area with full use of Eurosur, stepping up Europol support for detecting Internet content used by smugglers, including migrant smuggling data within the regular Eurostat collection of crime statistics
  • Enhanced prevention of smuggling and assistance: including information and prevention campaigns in third countries on risks of smuggling, launch of consultation in 2016 and impact assessment on possible revision of EU Directive 2004/81/EC on residence permits, development of handbook on prevention on migrant smuggling by 2017, development of guidelines for border authorities and consular services, evaluation of the EU legal framework on SIS to explore ways to enhance effectiveness of return and reduce irregular migration, proposals to open negotiations on readmission with main countries of irregular migrants, define targets as regards the number of inspections to be carried out every year in the economic sectors most exposed to illegal employment.
  • Stronger cooperation with third countries: including launching or enhancing bilateral and regional cooperation frameworks, funding of projects to support third countries set up strategies on migrant smuggling, set up police and judicial responses, develop integrated border management, set up of EU cooperation platforms on migrant smuggling in relevant third countries and regions, and optimising the use of EU funding through joint and coordinated planning.

Please read the Action Plan for further details.