The European Union has responded in a rapid and effective manner to the crisis developing in the Southern Mediterranean region. The Commission has mobilised €30 million to manage the humanitarian emergency. A Joint Frontex operation, called HERMES 2011, was launched on 20th of February to help Italy with maritime border surveillance, identification of migrants and refugees, as well as search and rescue operations at sea. Additional financial assistance of €25 million has been identified by the Commission and could be mobilised under the External Borders Fund and European Refugee Fund following concrete requests to be made by Member States. It remains necessary to take further action, both with short term measures and by addressing the longer-term challenges as endorsed by the European Council on 11 and 24/25 March.