International
0

EU to Help Libya With Migrant Crisis

(L-R) Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, British Prime Minister Theresa May,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel(L-R) Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, British Prime Minister Theresa May,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel

European Union leaders have taken a gamble on Libya’s fragile interim government by offering Tripoli €200 million ($215 million) and assistance in beefing up its frontier controls to help them prevent a new wave of African migrants this spring.

Meeting in Malta–in the sea lane to Italy where more than 4,500 people drowned last year–the leaders addressed legal and moral concerns about having Libyan coastguards force people ashore by pledging to improve conditions in migrant camps there, France24 reported.

Aid groups, however, accused the EU, whose leaders are under popular pressure to be seen to be controlling immigration, of abandoning humanitarian values and misrepresenting conditions in Libya, where the UN-backed government of Fayez Seraj has only a shaky and partial hold on the sprawling desert nation.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, which works in camps there, said, “Libya is not a safe place and blocking people in the country or returning them to Libya makes a mockery of the EU’s so-called fundamental values of human dignity and rule of law.”

Many EU governments are skeptical that the latest measures can have much effect on migration.

British Prime Minister Theresa May attended despite her plan to start negotiations by next month to take Britain out of the EU–a reminder, British officials said, that she wanted to go on cooperating with European neighbors after Brexit.

May also had a chance to brief peers on her visit last week to US President Donald Trump, whose backing for Brexit, doubts on free trade, barring of refugees and warmth toward Russia have all raised alarm in Europe.

Some European leaders disapprove of May’s rush to embrace Trump, although others, notably in the east, have endorsed his tough line against immigration.

French President François Hollande said European governments should stick together, not seek special favors from Washington.

 

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com