World

UN chief cool on EU smuggler boat destruction plan, Libya security operation

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The United Nations Secretary-General met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The United Nations Secretary-General met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker greet each other during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The United Nations Secretary-General met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker greet each other during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The United Nations Secretary-General met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Ki-moon met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Ki-moon met with EU leaders and called for international solidarity to deal with the issue of tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a better life in Europe. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed doubts about European plans to destroy migrant smuggler boats and says the focus should be on saving lives at sea.

Ban told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday that "the priority should be given to life saving and strengthening search and rescue."

More than 80,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean in search of better lives in Europe so far this year. More than 1,800 are feared to have died.

Destroying the boats that bring them over is one strand of the European Union's plan to "disrupt the business model" of smugglers.

Ban was also cool on an EU security operation that could hunt down smugglers in Libyan territorial waters.

"We need to address all of this in a comprehensive way," he said.