Monday

24th Apr 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

Voters 'change face' of French politics

Newcomer Macron and far-right leader Le Pen qualified for the presidential election run-off in a vote that pushed aside the two main traditional parties.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

News in Brief

  1. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning
  2. Land mine kills OSCE observer in Ukraine
  3. Italy prosecutor claims NGOs are working with migrant smugglers
  4. Danish defence hacked by Russian cyberspies
  5. EU trade commissioner in US to pick up TTIP talks
  6. Juncker to meet Soros on Hungary next week
  7. Timmermans praises Romania's anti-corruption measures
  8. Trump says 'strong Europe' is good for the US

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Les fake news inondent les réseaux sociaux français
  2. Les amis de Le Pen à la Trump Tower
  3. France's election run-off will be far-right versus EU
  4. Alternative for Germany party refuses to shun extreme right
  5. Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK
  6. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike
  7. Voters 'change face' of French politics
  8. France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote