Since 2015, the operation EU NAVFOR MED has constituted a part of the comprehensive approach by the European Union and the international community to address the problem of people smuggling and illegal migration in the region. It is also part of a broader engagement with strategic and regional partners in fully addressing the structural causes of migration in the countries of origin. The main purpose of the operation is to curb people smuggling activities in the Mediterranean.
On 6 July and 20 September 2015, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted decisions on the participation of the Republic of Slovenia in the operation, by which the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) were tasked to prepare for participation in the EUNAVFOR MED operation, which was renamed Sophia (after a Somali girl who was born on one of the ships in the operation) as it moved into its second phase. On 10 July and 6 August 2015, the Ministry of Defence issued orders on the formation of the Slovenian contingent.
At a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, a political decision was adopted to conclude Operation EU NAVFOR MED Sophia NAVFOR MED Sophia, whose technical mandate expired on 31 March 2020. At the same meeting, a decision was made to set up a new EU military operation in the Mediterranean Sea, called IRINI. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia supported the EU's strong role in the implementation of the Berlin Process arrangements in the Mediterranean, and announced its further participation in the operation, which would, under appropriate conditions, focus primarily on the implementation of arms embargo control on maritime routes and the execution of supplementary tasks, including the control of the implementation of measures related to the illegal export of oil and its derivatives from Libya, fight against organized crime in connection with migration, and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy.