Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini
The EU has not requested to the states mentioned by the honourable MEPs (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) to allow the deployment of drones.
Countering and preventing migrants smuggling remains a priority for the EU and forms an essential part of its efforts to save lives and prevent the exploitation of migrants. An Action Plan against migrant smuggling (2015-2020) was adopted by the European Commission on 27 May 2015, including improved gathering and sharing of information with full use of Eurosur.
To step up its effort to save lives and prevent further casualties at sea, the EU has considerably reinforced existing operations. It tripled the capacities and assets for the Frontex joint operations Triton and Poseidon for 2015 and 2016. The Operational Plan for the reinforced Joint Operations foresees the use of maritime, land and air assets.
In line with Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 Frontex is carrying out a selective monitoring of designated third-country ports and coasts which have been identified through risk analysis and information as being embarkation or transit points for vessels used for irregular immigration or cross-border crime. The main focus is given to the Libyan coasts. Furthermore Frontex is tracking vessels over high seas which are suspected of, or have been identified as, being used for irregular immigration or cross-border crime. Here the main focus is the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, with up to half a dozen of suspicious vessels being tracked at the same time. As a result Frontex has contributed to saving migrants' lives and intercepting drugs, cigarettes and weapons, as also described in detail in its report submitted in December 2015 to the EP and Council on the functioning of Eurosur.