Police chiefs from nine Mediterranean countries met for a summit on the island of Lampedusa with the goal of finding a common ways to improving the fight against human trafficking and identifying migrants who arrive on Europe's shores.

Migration, terrorism and organized crime were at the center of a summit in Lampedusa of the police chiefs from Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Malta, and Cyprus.

During the summit they discussed how to improve the fight against human trafficking, as well as how to identify migrants who disembark on their countries' shores. Another topic was the need to stop all criminal activity in European countries deriving from organisations that manage the trafficking of thousands of desperate people trying to reach Europe from Africa. 

Italian national police chief Franco Gabrielli said he and his colleagues are "tired of analysing". "Rather than eviscerating the reasons for the phenomenon, which we know well, we have to identify and face the critical issues and provide responses," Gabrielli said. That's why the summit focused not on political strategies or accommodation, which are topics that compete with other summits, but instead focused only on operational measures. Gabrielli stated the Mediterranean today represents "one of the most critical situations not only on our continent but in the entire world". 

Police chiefs identify three priorities 

At the conclusion of their meeting, the police chiefs had identified three priorities: improving the fight against human trafficking, identifying migrants who arrive in Europe, and fighting all forms of criminal activity that revolve around human trafficking. "Besides the negative effects that illegal migration produces in our societies, we need to put at the centre of our attention the people who profit off human lives," Gabrielli said. As for identification, he said migrants who arrive in Europe "must be tracked because they could represent a danger to security". Fighting criminal activity that derives from trafficking must take into account the central role that Malta plays. 

"There's no conflict with Italy," said Malta police chief Andrew Seychell. "We work every day with our Italian colleagues and we hope to expand this cooperation even further," he said. 

Better exchange of information

The nine police chiefs signed a declaration of intent at the summit's conclusion, vowing to improve the exchange of operational information, increase collaboration, work on common projects, and train police forces. "This declaration is the dressing that one gives to these types of events. The important thing is that underneath this dressing there's substance, that is, the commitment to continually meet together to face the specific situations that are critical in each individual country," Gabrielli said.

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