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Following the lifting of the United Nations sanctions against Libya on 12 September 2003, intense political contacts resumed between the European Union and Libya. At the moment, Libya and the European Union are not linked by contractual relations and there is no Association Agreement in force. Libya has not adhered to the Barcelona acquis and does not take part in the European Neighbourhood Policy. It only has observer status in the Barcelona process and the Union for the Mediterranean.

In 2011, the people of Libya have taken a bold and courageous step.

In removing Colonel Gaddafi, Libya's men and women risked and gave their lives to regain their dignity and freedom, secure their basic rights and work towards a more democratic future for Libya.

The EU responded rapidly to support the Libyan people.

Diplomatic action was taken with the adoption of sanctions that interrupted the flow of weapons and money to the Gaddafi regime and the EU engaged in extensive discussions with the international community to accelerate the end of the conflict. The EU also rapidly ensured a presence on the ground by opening an EU office in Benghazi in May 2011 and an office in Tripoli in August 2011, which subsequently opened as an EU Delegation by High Representative Catherine Ashton in November 2011.

The EU also provided humanitarian aid and cooperation assistance.

First, as demonstrations grew into revolution, it funded humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, treat the injured, assist refugees, prevent human rights abuses and support demining. This assistance was channelled through trusted humanitarian partners with ground presence as the most effective and speedy way of getting help to those in need.

Current co-operation programmes

Although Libya does not take part in the European Neighbourhood Policy, it is geographically eligible for funding under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Libya is also eligible for the regional programmes and its participation will become effective throughout 2012. In addition, Libya benefits from a variety of other budget lines, especially the thematic lines. Starting 2012, Libya is benefiting from a specific allocation (country based support schemes) under the two programmes Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (NSA/LA) as well as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

Under the Thematic Programme for Migration and Asylum, several initiatives are currently implemented in Libya. The overall amount of the EU contribution for these initiatives is around 20 M€.

Special focus is given to the promotion of migrants’ rights, with a specific focus on the fights against trafficking crime, the protection of victims of trafficking through capacity building of different stakeholders, assistance to voluntary return and reintegration from Libya to the respective origin countries. Other initiatives are focussing on the regional protection programme with the aim at developing a sound and sustainable protection regime for asylum seekers, as well as re-establish assistance mechanism for targeted asylum seekers and refugees including durable solutions.

In line with the two Joint Communications of the European Commission and of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, "A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean"[1] and "A new response to a changing Neighbourhood"[2], the EU's aim in Libya is to support the transition to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya. More specifically this will involve promoting “deep democracy”, based on strong, transparent and accountable institutions and a vibrant civil society. In the area of stability and security it involves addressing the root causes of conflict and promoting the integration of Libya within the region and the world at large. In this regard support for the diversification of the economy and the creation of employment and trade opportunities will be critical as will partnerships with business and investors.

[1]               COM(2011)200 of 8 March 2011.

[2]               COM(2011)303 of 25 May 2011.

The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

Following the launch of the negotiations for a European Union - Libya Framework Agreement in late 2008, financial co-operation has increased with a financial allocation of €60 million for 2011-2013.

The revolution in Libya has set up a radically different context where the European Union needs to support the new Authorities in stabilising the country. Special Measure in favour of Libya for 2011 was adopted with a budget of €10 million for three programmes:

  • Public administration Capacity Building Facility,
  • Better quality education and increased inclusiveness for all children,
  • Support to the emergence and development of Civil Society and Local Governance.

2012 Special Measures for Libya have been adopted on 14 December 2012 extending EU support to three priority sectors: support to the health sector, upgrading of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, reinforcing Rule of Law.

Currently, a series of programmes is supporting the stability and democratic transition of Libya. This portfolio is addressing some of the most pressing needs such as capacity building for public administration, civil society, media and elections with contributions from different budget lines ((ENPI, Instrument for Stability - IFS, EIDHR, NSA/LA). 


Implementing agency

Amount (million€)

Duration (months)

Start Date

Support to Libyan Government

Public Administration Capacity Building Facility Libya

The International Management Group - IMG



January 2012

Better Quality Education and increased inclusiveness for all children.





 May 2012

Revitalisation, Regeneration and Strengthening of Rehabilitation Services for People with Disabilities in Libya

International Medical Corps UK (IMC)



March/April 2012

Libyan-EU Partnership for Infectious Disease Control

Belgian Red Cross




Support to Civil Society in Libya (institutional side)

The European Network of Implementing Development Agencies (EUNIDA)/Crown Agents




Libya Health Systems Strengthening (LHSS) Programme

The European Network of Implementing Development Agencies (EUNIDA)/Crown Agents / GIZ



January 2013

Technical and vocational education and training  (TVET) delivery and development

British Council



January 2013

Strengthening  Democracy, good Governance and civilian culture in the security and justice sectors

The International Management Group - IMG



January 2013

Enhancing Local Risk Detection and Crime Investigation Capability




September 2012

Support to Libyan Civil Society

Initial Capacity Building programme for emerging institutions and civil society in Libya

Common Purpose Charitable Trust




Civil Initiatives Libya

Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development - ACTED



January 2012

All inclusive Libyan Dialogue in the future

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue



January 2012

Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt,Tunisia and Libya

International Organization for Migration (IOM)



January 2012

Support to torture victims and victims of enforced disappearance in post-Gaddafi Libya and advocate for an effective protection from torture

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) and World Organisation against torture (OMCT)



February 2012

Protection and promotion of the freedom of information in Libya

Reporters without borders



April 2012

Won for Libya

Women Organizations´network towards building a new Libya and European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES)



March 2012

Supporting Democracy in Libya

European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) (in consortium with IDEA, Club of Madrid, European Partnership for Democracy - EPD, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy - NIMD)



May 2012


Radio France international



June 2012

Enhancing human rights based reforms in Libyan detention system

Intercultural Institute of Timisoara



July 2012

Libya meets Europe

Italian Cultural Institute



January 2013

Libyan Street Theatre Workshops

British Council



January 2013

Asylum and Migration in Libya

Danish Refugees Council



Nov 2012

Security, Protection and Stabilization Program in Libya” (Protection and Demining Activities)

Folkekirkens Nodhjaelp Fond



September 2012

Libyan Protection Governance Initiative (LPGI)

Mercy Corps



July 2012

Co-operation until 2010

Until 2010, co-operation between the European Union and Libya focused on the field of combating illegal immigration (mainly through thematic and regional projects under AENEAS programme  and Migration and Asylum) and on the area of HIV/AIDS, where the European Union has been very active through the Benghazi Action Plan – BAP (funded since 2004, through various financial instruments).


EU HIV Action Plan for Benghazi (2004-2010)

In 1998, a severe HIV/AIDS epidemic broke out at Benghazi Children's Hospital (services transferred to the Benghazi Centre for Immunology and Infectious Diseases - BCIDI). A total of 460 persons, mostly children, were infected and 53 passed away. In this context, the European Union HIV Action Plan for Benghazi (Benghazi Action Plan - BAP) started in September 2005 with the aim to assure appropriate medical care for the cohort of HIV-infected children through the upgrading of the BCIDI and to support the establishment of a national AIDS programme in Libya. The aid is delivered through several service contracts with prominent European hospitals, the Belgian Red Cross and international experts, in close collaboration with the Gaddafi Foundation and the Libyan Government.

So far, this project has been implemented in 5 phases:


Preparatory phase (2004-2005)

Phase 1(2005-2006)

Phase 2(2006)

Phase 3(2006-2007)

Phase 4(2007-2009)

Phase 5(2009-2011)


EU Budget line 21.0402 (DEV)

Rapid Reaction MechanismRapid Reaction Mechanism

Regulation (EC) No 1568/2003

European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument

European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument








A sixth and last phase (BAP VI) was launched in 2010 for €2 million, bringing total funding under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument to €8 million.

In addition to the BAP, the European Union funded another targeted project in the area of Health and HIV/AIDS, through the Instrument for Stability, supporting the development and implementation of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy in Libya.

Other sources of funding

Libya is benefiting from the Erasmus Mundus programme, enhancing mobility and co-operation with the European Union in the field of higher education and from the Tempus programme on higher education and research. A project has been selected in 2011 and two in 2012 to enhance quality in Libyan universities in cooperation with European universities.

Finally, since 2009, Libya has been quite active within Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX), a demand-driven instrument that supports partner countries in to the approximation, application and enforcement of the European Union legislation.


More information

For European Neighbourhood Policy and EU policy towards Libya see the European External Action Service website.

For trade relations see the Trade Directorate-General website.

Last update: 11/03/2013 | Top