Migrants are disembarked from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship MV Phoenix in the Sicilian harbour of Messina, Italy May 16, 2015. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
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European Union ministers are set to approve plans Monday for an unprecedented naval force to fight people smugglers in the Mediterranean after a series of shipwrecks killed hundreds of migrants.The EU plan also includes the possible destruction of smugglers' boats before they reach European shores, although that requires a United Nations Security Council resolution backing military action.If the EU wants ships from its members states to enter Libyan waters or capture a boat flying a foreign flag, it needs the green light from the U.N. under international law.The naval operation is part of a wider EU blueprint launched last week which envisaged sharing the migrant burden more evenly among member states and increased cooperation with source countries to help stem the tide of people seeking a better life in Europe.Parts of the plan -- particularly quotas for distributing asylum seeker arrivals around the EU -- are causing deep divisions.
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