Italy & EU Agree Disasterous Migration Deals With Libya
On 2 February, Fayez al-Serraj, Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), signed an MoU with Italy on migration which calls for more support for Libyan Coast Guard vessels, the “humanitarian repatriation” of migrants and support for camps with personnel and medical supplies for migrants. The next day, on 3 February, the EU met in Malta, agreeing to support the Italy-Libya deal and pledging that the GNA will receive a further €200m to help prevent migrants from leaving Libyan shores and arriving in Europe.
- Increased training and equipment for the Libyan coastguard
- Stepped up efforts to block smuggling routes
- Better conditions for migrants at Libyan reception centres
- More EU involvement with countries near Libya to slow the influx
- Supporting local communities on migration routes and in coastal areas to improve their socio-economic situation
However, many human rights groups have been critical of this controversial plan and rightly so. The GNA lacks the power and the capacity to provide safe, secure conditions for migrants and refugees within Libya, let alone process asylum seekers or repatriate migrants. Providing funding to reception centres in Libya without an accountable entity through which to police the distribution of such funds is likely to incentivise people smugglers to corral migrants in order to access funding for such centres, yet with no incentive to improve conditions for the people who will suffer most from this deal: the migrants and refugees themselves. This may meet Europe’s desire for less migrants reaching Europe from Libya in the short-term, but this course of action will only worsen the humanitarian crisis in the long term and lead to greater destabilisation in Libya, a country which is currently struggling to provide basic services and access to justice for its own citizens, let alone migrants and refugees.
Click here to read the full EU statement on the migration agreement.