9th Jun 2023

Gaddafi wants more money to prevent Europe becoming 'black'

  • Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi depicted on a billboard (Photo: 10b travelling)

African and European leaders exchanged barbed criticisms during the first day of an EU-Africa summit in Tripoli, Libya, on Monday (29 November), with contentious trade deals and migration issues among the hot topics.

Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, host of the two-day summit, slammed Europe's economic partnership with Africa as a "failure", and demanded the 27-member union provide more money in the fight against illegal immigration.

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

During an opening address to the leaders of 80 different nations, Mr Gaddafi demanded that "Christian, white" Europe lend more financial support for his efforts to combat irregular emigration to Europe. Otherwise it risked becoming "black", he said.

A European agreement last month to allocate €50 million for projects aimed at improving Libyan treatment of refugees, mostly coming from African conflict zones and aiming for Europe, was brandished by human rights groups at the time as "worryingly vague".

The Libyan leader also criticised the EU for linking aid to good governance and progress on human rights issues, leading European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to hit back in his following speech.

"In Europe's experience, the perspectives for economic growth are closely linked to elements of good governance," said Mr Van Rompuy. "Africa is not an exception."

The extent of Africa's frustration with the EU was highlighted in a leaked document prior to the summit however, in which African leaders say they are ready to abandon ten years of trade talks because European demands for market liberalisation are not being matched by return gestures.

One of the many US diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks has meanwhile highlighted the seemingly bizarre whims of Libya's aging ruler who seized power in a coup in 1969.

"Gaddafi ... reportedly cannot travel with his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska. He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing," the US's man in Tripoli, ambassador Gene Cretz, told Washington in 2009.

Climate change proved another contentious issue at the summit, with the African Union refusing to sign a joint statement on climate change intended as "a strong signal" to the UN multi-lateral talks currently underway in Cancun, Mexico. African diplomats said it only expressed European views on the matter.


A draft summit declaration seen by Reuters suggest EU and African nations will press Sudan to accept the results of next year's referendum on whether the south of the country should secede, part of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north-south civil war.

But analysts say the January vote, where a majority are expected to support dividing the country, could result in fresh violence.

Sudan's decision to pull out on the eve of the EU-Africa summit also served to create tension at the bi-regional meeting, the first between the two sides in roughly three years.

The decision to boycott this week's event followed an EU threat to walk out if Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attended the meeting.

Mr Bashir is under international indictment from the Hague-based International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's western province of Darfur.

EU's proposed ethics body 'toothless', say campaigners

Transparency campaigners say the new ethics body proposed by the European Commission will do little to prevent corruption at the EU institutions. The proposal comes six months after allegations of a Qatari corruption affair involving a former European Parliament vice-president.


The 'BlackRock exemption' has no place in the EU's due diligence directive

With the EU's Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, there's an opportunity to harness the power of investment for truly sustainable activities. But to do this, it must not allow the 'BlackRock exemption' and instead cover institutional investors and asset managers.

Latest News

  1. Belgian bâtonnier on Russia: 'You can have a client you don't like'
  2. EU's proposed ethics body 'toothless', say campaigners
  3. Study: 90% of Spanish inflation 'driven by corporate profits'
  4. If Spanish economy is doing well, why is Sanchez poised to lose?
  5. EU lawyers for Russia: making 'good' money?
  6. The 'BlackRock exemption' has no place in the EU's due diligence directive
  7. Europeans don't see China as a rival, but weapons to Russia is a red line
  8. Cleaning workers urge Parliament: 'Europe should lead by example'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains
  2. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  3. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us