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Libya has no Association Agreement with the EU and thus remains outside most of the structures of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). It only has observer status in the Barcelona process and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). However, it is eligible for funding under the new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the ENI’s regional programmes. Libya also benefitted from funding under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for 2007-2013. The ENI is the main EU financial instrument for the Neighbourhood countries during the financial period 2014-2020.

Thematic assistance programmes – for example, on human rights or migration – are additional funding sources.

Libya also benefits from funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. This Trust Fund support to the North of Africa area is managed by the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

Bilateral and Thematic Cooperation

The EU responded rapidly to support the Libyan people during the post-Gadhaffi period and delivered on its commitment to support the Libyan people in their transition towards democracy. As a first immediate response, the EU launched actions to address urgent needs and to support the stabilisation priorities of the authorities. This was followed by a comprehensive package of long-term projects.

Since mid-2014, however, the level of political violence has increased and the transition in Libya has stalled.  Since then, the EU cooperation portfolio has been under constant revision to enable it to respond optimally to the needs emerging from a rapidly changing political and security situation. With the resumption of hostilities mid-2014, most cooperation with government institutions have been put on hold and activities have been re-oriented to address the most pressing needs of the Libyan population.

For the programming period 2014 – 2015 EU's assistance to Libya is focusing on three priority sectors:

  • Democratic governance
  • Youth: active citizenship and socioeconomic integration
  • Health

Complementary support for capacity development and civil society can be provided outside these priority sectors.

Key objectives, results and indicative financial allocations are outlined in the programming document for 2014-15.  The extension of the programming period 2014-2015 to 2016 is currently under discussion.

For the period 2014-2015, EU's assistance to Libya initially foreseen amounted to an allocation of €40 million. This figure is indicative: the final allocation will depend on the country’s needs and the evolution of the political and security situation. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).

In 2014, EU funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) amounted to €8 million to support the transition and public governance. This will help implement activities promoting the stabilization of the situation in the country. Initial focus will be on capacity building for public authorities, key democratic institutions, local institutions and other actors committed to the reconciliation process.

In addition to ENI funding, Libya  also benefitted in 2014 from other EU support such as the thematic programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities (€1.4 million) or the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR - €0.6 million).

For the period 2007-2013, bilateral assistance committed for Libya totalled €83 million. This amount included additional funding granted through the incentive-based SPRING programme. The funding came from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

Currently, several  ENPI programmes are still on-going, mainly those targeting support to the protection of  vulnerable people and support to civil society.. However, due to the volatile political and security situation, programmes focussing on institutional support had to be suspended.

Support to Civil Society

Independent civil society organisations were not allowed to play a role under the old regime. This has drastically changed after the 2011 revolution.  The Libyan Authorities recognised civil society as an important element of the democratic transition process and actively promoted civil society actors. Libyan civil society actors eagerly used this opportunity to get organised and to participate in the transition process.

The EU set up a significant and comprehensive series of programmes supporting both the development of the institutional dimension of the civil society sector and the capacity building of civil society organisations. This included creating a conducive environment for the sector and promoting policy dialogue with national and local authorities ("Support to civil society in Libya" €3 million). This programme supported policy dialogue between the government, the GNC and the civil society in the constitutional process. The "Civil Initiatives Libya" (€3.1 million) has set up four training centres (Benghazi, Tripoli, Misrata and Sabha) and has been complemented with a second phase of €2.4 million in 2014. The programme also allocated small grants to Libyan NGOs in order to encourage and raise the capacity of grass root Libyan CSOs.

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights has funded activities in the areas of democratisation, women's rights, media training, support to torture victims, national reconciliation and capacity-building related to the elections.

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Last update: 23/06/2016