Friday

21st Sep 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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 mulls Turkey-type migrant deal with Libya

The Maltese EU presidency said a "similar approach" to the Turkey deal could stop migrants coming from Libya, but the UN said the plan was a non-starter.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us