Alfano will ask government to shut down Mare Nostrum -update

Interior minister says Frontex Plus to replace rescue operation

(ANSA) - Rome, September 15 - Italy's interior ministry will ask the government to discontinue the Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue operation when Frontex Plus begins in November, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Monday.
    "Once Europe is there with ships, helicopters and all the necessary equipment, we'll have achieved our objective of clarifying that that border is an European border, a Schengen border, not an Italian border," Alfano said.
    Frontex Plus is an expanded version of EU border agency Frontex, and is the result of Italy's calls for the EU to step in to shoulder some of the burden from the influx of immigrants arriving by sea, most of whom make Italy their first stop.
    Italy set up Mare Nostrum in October 2013 after 400 people perished in two migrant boat disasters off the coast of Sicily.
    The operation costs nine million euros a month, taking up the bulk of the Navy's budget.


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