Two days meetings in Libya between EU Commissioners Cecilia Malmström and Stefan Füle on the one part and representatives from the Libyan authorities on the other resulted in an agreement between the EU and Libya on a plan for cooperation in the coming years on issues related to asylum, migration, and international protection.
"Libya is one of the portals into Europe for people who are fleeing or seeking a better life. Therefore we need to agree on good terms for cooperation, and to ensure the respect for fundamental rights throughout the whole asylum and migration process", says EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
The purpose of the Libya visit was to discuss bilateral issues with the Libyan authorities, with a special focus on migration. An estimated 1,5 million people on the run or in pursuit of a better life are currently staying in Libya.
EU Member States have previously underlined the need for closer cooperation with the countries from which many people come to Europe. The new agreement includes, apart from issues concerning asylum and international protection, that the EU should support Libya in trying to build up a system for labour migration, that tougher measures should be taken on smugglers of human beings, and to develop the Libyan border control. For a period of three years, the EU offers 50 million euro in projects within the framework of this cooperation plan.
Cecilia Malmström also visited a detention centre in the desert by the Libyan southern border. "Many people are being found in the desert, often after having been left there by smugglers. Those who succeed in reaching Libyan ground are being rescued, but they often get stuck in detention centres waiting on being allowed to move on. And the living conditions in those centres are horrible. With our new EU-Libya agreement, I hope that we can contribute to improving the situation for these people and make sure that those who need to come to Europe for international protection will be able to do that", says Cecilia Malmström.
Read the EU-Libya agreement in full.