Tuesday

17th Jul 2018

Europol keen to bend rules on Libya cases

  • The EU police agency wants more data and information shared on Libya. (Photo: Europol)

The EU's police agency, Europol, wants to start collaborating with Libyan authorities to clamp down on migrant smuggling.

An internal paper from the Hague-based agency, dated from earlier this month, says privacy issues are making the task difficult despite the operational presence of military and intelligence authorities of EU states inside the war-torn country.

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.

... our join as a group

"There is a clear gap in information flows," notes the paper.

The agency wants to start exchanging sensitive information with the Libyans, noting that "public security interests of the EU" must be weighed against "the interests of the (suspected) perpetrator," when it comes to his or her data protection.

Europol is currently investigating 54 priority migrant smuggling cases, including some in Libya, but is unable to nail down evidence to justify criminal proceedings.

Given the widespread turmoil in Libya, a country overrun by some 1,500 armed militia groups, Europol has also been unable to secure any operational agreements with its UN-backed government in Tripoli under Fayez Serraj.

Among the militias is general Khalifa Haftar, a former CIA-asset and now a powerful Libyan warlord, who was embraced earlier this week by Italian officials in Rome.

Haftar had met with Italy's defence minister, Roberta Pinotti, to work out a UN plan to stabilise the country. The general, a rival of Serraj, is accused of ordering his soldiers to commit war crimes. Haftar also controls large swathes of Libya's eastern territories.

The 13-page Europol document does not reference Haftar but notes that the EU's mission to Libya in Tunis, EUbam, is currently trying to identify "functional Libyan authorities" to carry out its anti-smuggling operations.

The document also suggests setting up an "information clearing house" within Europol to hoover up personal data and other intelligence gathered from EU civilian and military missions in Libya.

Europol received some 5,700 messages on migrant smuggling from EU states in the first six months of this year. But the agency says that the exchange of real-time personal data and operational information remains poor, and is asking Italy and Greece to step up their efforts.

"EU member states and Europol need to implement compensatory countermeasures by ensuring their own presence in Libya. Still getting the needed intelligence will remain a big challenge," notes the paper.

EU brushes off UN criticism of Libya policy

The European Commission is becoming more defensive of its policies following a string of criticisms from NGOs and the UN's high commissioner for human rights.

Opinion

Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance

Europe's choice is between unplanned, reactive, fragmented, ineffective migration policy and planned, regulated, documented movements of people, writes International Rescue Committee chief David Miliband.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Putin asks Trump to go after British activist
  2. May caves in to Brexiteer demands, risking 'no deal'
  3. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  4. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  5. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  6. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  7. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  8. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us