Monday

27th Feb 2017

Italy opens Libya embassy to stop migrants

Italy announced on Monday (9 January) it would re-open its embassy in Libya's capital as part of a broader effort to curb migration departures.

"The Italian ambassador is returning to Tripoli after two years. A great gesture of friendship to the Libyan people. Now more controls on migrant departures," Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano wrote on Twitter.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Security situation in Libya remains tense (Photo: BRC)

The diplomatic envoy, set to start on Tuesday, is the first for any Western nation after governments pulled out when Libya was left to the mercy of warring militant groups. The turmoil has also allowed the Islamic State jihadist group to gain a foothold.

The general lawlessness helped turn the country into the main staging ground for people seeking to reach the EU from the north African coast.

Frontex, the EU border agency, says the number of people detected crossing the Mediterranean Sea last year reached 181,000, "the highest number ever recorded" along the route.

The vast majority come from Nigeria, followed by nationals from Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Gambia, who disembark on packed and often unseaworthy boats towards Italy.

Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti had also announced, in Tripoli, a pact to boost cooperation with Libya against migrant smuggling, terrorism, and human trafficking.

Italian news agency Ansa reports Minniti had met with senior Libyan ministers, including the UN-backed prime minister, Fayez el-Sarraj.

Minniti said the two countries had entered into a "new phase" in terms of cracking down on criminal organisations that exploit migrants.

"During the meeting, Italy's full support was reaffirmed for the national unity government and Libya's role in fighting terrorism both on a regional level and a national one, in particular in the Mediterranean region," he said.

The EU's naval operation Sophia has also been training the Libyan navy since last October.

The Italian-led operation is mandated to implement an UN arms embargo on the high seas off the Libyan coast.

As of late December, it had registered some 253 "arms embargo events" and delivered over 100 smugglers to the Italian authorities.

The four-phase operation is seeking to access and expand into Libya's territorial and coastal waters but first requires the backing of a United Nation Security Council resolution.

EU unveils €200m Libya migrant project

The EU commission has earmarked €200 million to enhance surveillance and better train the Libyan coastguard to stop migrants coming to Europe.

Italy and Libya cut migrant busting deal

Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni and his Libyan counterpart Fayez al-Serraj signed a deal in Rome to curb migration flows and crack down on people smuggling ahead of an EU summit in Malta.

News in Brief

  1. Trump and Brexit drew on same resources
  2. Romanian protestors form EU flag at anti-government rally
  3. Over 3,500 attacks on refugees in Germany: report
  4. Merger of London and Berlin stock exchanges in doubt
  5. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  6. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  7. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  8. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  2. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  4. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  5. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  6. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  7. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  8. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  9. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market