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Swedish Coastguard to continue role in Mediterranean

Published onsdag 16 november 2016 kl 09.02
Ygeman: Thousands of lives saved
(1:12 min)
Swedish coast guard helping people.
The Swedish Coast Guard has helped rescue people off the coast of Libya. Credit: Swedish Coast Guard

Sweden will continue to be involved with border control in the Mediterranean for another year, Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman has confirmed.

The Swedish Coastguard has made a ship, several small boats, a helicopter and personnel available to the EU’s border and coast guard agency, Frontex, since May 2015.

That involvement was due to run out at the end of April 2017, but Ygeman said Sweden would continue to contribute beyond that date.

“It’s a border control operation, but it has resulted in over 10,000 lives being saved,” Ygeman said.

The Swedish vessels, including the ship Poseidon, have helped rescue people making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Europe, often in flimsy and crowded boats and dinghies.

The decline in the numbers of people seeking to reach mainland Europe from Turkey has meant Sweden’s resources have been used more for border control in recent months, although the coastguard’s resources are available should there be an emergency.

“This is an important effort, but we need to make further efforts to ensure that people do not venture out on the Mediterranean in these fragile craft,” Ygeman said.

The extension of the effort will be formally decided at a government meeting on Thursday.

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