Friday

16th Nov 2018

Investigation

EU bins security contract, annoys Libya

The EU foreign service has cancelled a €10 million contract with British security firm G4S in a minor diplomatic dispute with Libya.

A spokeswoman for the European External Action Service (EEAS) told EUobserver on Tuesday (29 May) that the deal - for guarding its embassies in Benghazi and Tripoli for the next four years - is in the bin.

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

  • Libya: the post-war NTC is proving more tricky to handle than expected (Photo: BRC)

For its part, the post-war authority in Libya, the National Transitional Council (NTC), said in a statement on Saturday that "this company [G4S] ... will not receive a licence to operate inside Libyan territory" and that its staff "will not obtain visas to enter or work in Libya."

Its harsh words came after the EEAS signed the contract back in April without first asking them for permission to bring in the armed guards.

The EU body at the time said it did not need a permit. But the NTC's ambassador to the EU said it did.

A G4S spokesman told this website: "We are disappointed that the Libyan authorities have not seen fit to give G4S the authority to offer security services in the country in time for us to support the EU delegation."

EUobserver understands that the EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf, is also looking into the case.

Olaf declined to confirm or deny the information, citing house rules on confidentiality. But the G4S deal aroused suspicion among competitors that British officials in the EEAS gave preferential treatment to the British company.

Apart from annoying the NTC, the G4S deal ran counter to the EU's own tender specifications - EU tender documents had stipulated that the winner must show "evidence" that they have a Libyan permit "before signature of the specific contract."

At the same time, EU officials believe that information was leaked to press for financial gain.

The mess means that Hungarian-based security company Argus is likely to do the Libya job from 1 June onward instead.

Argus came second in the tender. It already has NTC permission and is already working for the EEAS in Libya under an interim agreement.

G4S is the largest private security firm in the world, with a turnover of €9.4 billion a year and 657,000 staff.

It currently does security for the EEAS, the European Commission and the EU Council buildings in Brussels.

It is also cultivating influence in EU diplomatic circles - in January, it hired the former British ambassador to Libya, Richard Northern, as an "advisor" tasked to "support business growth in Libya."

The Libya problem means the EU will come under extra scrutiny when it awards a new €50 million contract for Afghanistan security in coming months. Contracts for Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon and Sudan are also coming up for grabs.

Libya: hounding of migrants must stop

Sub-Saharan migrants in Libya face appalling treatment. But despite its fine words, the EU's sole concern is to keep them out of Europe.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us