Wednesday

21st Apr 2021

Exclusive

EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security

  • EU Commission also intends to maintain its support for the Libyan Coast Guard (Photo: unsmil.unmissions.org)

The EU will help write Libya's national strategy of border security and management, according to an internal EU document.

Dated 1 September and obtained by EUobserver, the document spells out what the EU's border assistance mission in Libya (EUbam) intends to do over the next six months.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The move sends a signal greater efforts are being made to prevent migrants and refugees from fleeing the war-torn country.

Drafted in part by EUbam's head of mission Libya, Vincenzo Tagliaferri, the 60-page report also provides a detailed account of what it had done between February and August this year.

It had, for instance, launched a pilot project along with Italy and the EU's border agency Frontex to train the Libyan coast guard.

The coast guard has been key in preventing people from fleeing - but often sending those 'saved at sea' to detention centres, where they face torture or worse.

But it is in his closing remarks where Tagliaferri places emphasis on a so-called 'white paper', EU parlance for proposals.

He said the white paper, once implemented, "will include a comprehensive reform of border administration, aiming at stabilising control and security of borders and migration administration".

The report itself noted that "the Mission (EUbam) has started to work on a draft roadmap, including an implementation plan of the WP (white paper) and aims at starting with the drafting of a National Strategy of Border Security and Management in the upcoming months."

It is also helping the Libyan's draft their maritime strategy, notes the report.

The white paper was not annexed to the leaked report and still needs to be endorsed by Libya's presidential council.

But a flurry of high-level contacts have been maintained throughout the summer months between EU missions in Libya and Tripoli authorities in light of the pandemic and the conflict.

At the end of June, for example, Tagliaferri met with Libya's interior minister in Tripoli. He also met with officials from Libya's ministry of defence, justice, and foreign affairs.

Tagliaferri had only three years earlier described these Libyan institutions as chaotic, highlighting how Libya had suspended its defence minister following the Brak Shati massacre.

Now EUbam is set to sign a new agreement with Libya's interior minister, which aims to enhance relations "including on border management and law enforcement."

It comes against a backdrop of a spike of Libyan Covid-19 cases, notes the report, as well an increased risk of roadside bombings for those returning to Tripoli from the frontlines of what Tagliaferri clearly describes as an active conflict.

Meanwhile, the European Commission was also busy with plans to reshuffle money to give the Libyan coast guard a cash injection.

In June, they met with the EU's naval operation Irini, among others, to discuss EU support for the Libyan coast guard.

Those talks resulted in an "action plan" to further shore up Libyan maritime law enforcement agencies, noted Tagliaferri's report.

'Scandal'

Asked to comment, far-left Swedish MEP Malin Björk said such investments risks making the EU complicit in crimes against humanity.

"If it is true that the EU is stepping up its support to the so-called 'Libyan coastguard', it is a scandal," she said, in an email.

She said paying the Libyans to keep people from fleeing is an outsourcing of the EU's borders.

"The border forces are active in push-backs and in trapping people in Libya, where we know migrants are locked up, tortured, sexually abused, and even sold," she said.

The leaked report comes ahead of the European Commissions' long-delayed pact on migration and asylum.

Last week, commission vice-president Schinas said the pact intends to keep people from leaving their countries in the first place.

EU shores up Libyan coast guard amid Covid-19 scare

The EU is reorienting funds to boost the Libyan coast guard - amid fears that the escalating violence in the north African country plus the coronavirus will force a large exodus of people to take boats towards Europe.

New EU migration pact 'to keep people in their country'

The European Commission's long-awaited pact on migration and asylum is now set to be unveiled on 23 September. Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas has likened it to a "house with three floors".

Cyprus leaves EU ministers red-faced on Belarus

EU foreign ministers will have nothing to show Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya when they meet her in Brussels on Monday, after Cyprus blocked sanctions.

Opinion

Europe should not delude itself on Libya

European leaders always fail to mention the Turkish military intervention that led to the end of Khalifa Haftar's infamous military operation initiated in April 2019, and the end of the warlord's ambition to become Libya's 'new Gadaffi'.

News in Brief

  1. European 'Super League' falls apart
  2. Concern growing Russia to recognise Ukraine 'republics'
  3. Spain withdraws judicial appointments reform
  4. Dozen EU countries confident of July adult-vaccination target
  5. EMA: Johnson & Johnson jab benefits outweigh risks
  6. Prague asks EU and Nato states to expel Russian diplomats
  7. Global CO2 energy-related emissions to rise 5% in 2021
  8. Ukraine: Russia 'will soon have 120,000 troops at border'

Analysis

Frontex scrutiny on rights violations is a PR stunt

Greece denies any illegal pushbacks at sea. The EU takes their version of events as face value, in a system unable and unwilling to shed doubt on Greek authorities - posing accountability questions on the EU's border guard agency Frontex.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. EU negotiators strike deal on climate 'law of laws'
  2. 'Dire' suffering continues in Ethiopia war, EU envoy says
  3. Study: EU 'largely lost leadership' on media freedom
  4. Facebook users in EU get more Covid disinformation than US
  5. EU sends vaccines to Balkans, in wake of China and Russia
  6. Biden's withdrawal and Afghan migration to EU
  7. Europeans are Russian pipeline addicts
  8. Czech leader downplays Russian bomb attack

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us