Following up on the Commission’s Action Plan to support Italy from 4 July, the EU Trust Fund for Africa adopted today a programme worth €46 million to reinforce the integrated migration and border management capacities of the Libyan authorities.
The new actions respond to the measures proposed under the Action plan to address the migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean Route. The programme aims at stepping up activities in support of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards, to enhance their capacity to effectively manage the country’s borders. The programme will be implemented by the Italian Ministry of Interior and co-financed by Italy.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Security and stability in Libya are key for the Libyans, the region and Europe, and they come also by better managing the borders and strengthening the resilience of the population. While we keep working to a political solution to the political crisis in the country, that brings peace and reconciliation, we also continue to support the communities and the Libyan authorities, also in their capacity to address the migration flows, rescue migrants, making sure that human rights are respected, and fight against the smuggling networks. This new programme is part of our comprehensive approach: increased border management will go hand in hand with the work we are doing on the sustainable socioeconomic development of local communities, as well as protection, assisted voluntary returns and reintegration of migrants.”
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “The European Commission, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa is undertaking rapid and concrete measures to reduce migratory pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route. With this new package we have mobilised already €136 million to better manage migration in Libya and our work continues. The European Union, working hand-in-hand with its Member States will keep on supporting the Libyan authorities for the sake of the people in Libya, for the stabilisation of the country and of the region, which is part of our Neighbourhood.”
Strengthening the operational capacities of the Libyan coastguards
Support to training, equipment (rubber boats, communication equipment, lifesaving equipment), repair and maintenance of the existing fleet. The activities will strengthen the authorities’ capacities in maritime surveillance and rescuing at sea;
Set up of basic facilities in order to provide the Libyan coast guards with initial capacity to better organise their control operations
Equipped with the necessary tools to coordinate maritime operations, the operational rooms of the coast guards will be located in the same premises in order to facilitate the necessary synergies and monitoring and coordination between the different Libyan services involved in border surveillance and control;
Conduct feasibility studies for two fully-fledged control facilities in Tripoli
This will involve the full design of an Interagency National Coordination Centre under the control of the Ministry of Interior and a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre under the control of the Ministry of Defence, and assistance to the authorities in defining and declaring a Libyan Search and Rescue Region with adequate Standard Operation Procedures;
Strengthening the operational capacity of the Libyan border guards along the southern borders most affected by illegal crossings
This activity will focus on the border area around the capital of the Ghat District in the Fezzan region of south-western Libya through enhanced capacity-building. Based on the outcome of a comprehensive assessment, this pilot activity will aim to set up or restore the border area surveillance facilities. The financing of the facilities will be linked to the access of humanitarian actors for protection of migrants in the region and the opening of ‘safe spaces’.
Outmost attention will be given to monitoring and coordination.
This programme complements the €90 million package adopted in April 2017 to reinforce the protection and resilience of migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya. Under this programme, a particular focus goes to improving the conditions for migrants and fostering the respect of human rights, improving the conditions in reception centres and working towards alternatives to detention. Overall, €136 million have been committed to Libya under the Trust Fund since January 2017.
To address the situation along the Central Mediterranean Route, the European Union has put in place a comprehensive set of measures in line with the Joint Communication on the Central Mediterranean Route, ‘Managing flows, Saving Lives’ (25 January 2017) and the Malta Declaration (3 February 2017). €200 million for 2017 were pledged to the North of Africa window of the EU Trust Fund for Africa with a priority to be given to Libya.
The European Council of 22-23 June called for further action highlighting, among others, that “training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and should be speeded up” and underlining the need to reinforce cooperation in order to stem the migratory pressure on Libya’s land borders.
With the Action Plan from 4 July, the Commission followed up to this call, by identifying specific actions each actor can and should take to implement these commitments. Today’s adoption of the programme is a concrete step from both Italy and the Commission to take work with Libya forward. President Juncker referred to this programme in his letter to the Prime Minister of Italy, Gentiloni, on 25 July 2017.