European Interest

MEPs urge the EU to support constitutional reform efforts in Libya


On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved a series of recommendations on the political situation in war-torn Libya to the European Commission, EU member states in the Council, and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell. Stressing the need for a stable political transition and unity among the country’s warring factions, MEPs call on the EU to support Libya in uniting itself through a proper constitutional reform process. They also express their support for the UN-backed negotiations on a roadmap for the holding of free and fair elections.

Parliament urges the EU to step up its diplomatic efforts to restore peace and security in the country. To achieve this, member states must act in a more unified manner and speak with one voice when it comes to Libya, avoiding the scattered approaches of the past. To this end, MEPs call on the EU to nominate, as a matter of priority, an EU special representative for Libya.

To lay the ground for improved security in the country, MEPs want all mercenaries, and foreign fighters and forces, to withdraw from Libyan territory, including Russian paramilitary Wagner group. They urge all international actors involved, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, not to interfere in Libya and to refrain from fuelling tensions through direct and sponsored military interventions.

Oil must not become a political weapon, reforms need to be carried out

In addition, Parliament calls on all actors in Libya to refrain from using oil as an instrument of political confrontation and keep all wells and oil terminals open. They want the EU to work towards a more stable energy partnership with Libya, which would help to increase Libyan capabilities in the sector and diversify the EU’s energy supply.

Addressing the Libyan authorities, MEPs encourage them to carry out comprehensive judicial reform, if needed with technical support from the EU, in order to tackle the structural impunity prevailing in the country and pave the way for reconciliation and peace. They also call on the authorities to end their crackdown on civil society organisations, to fight corruption and address severe human rights violations.

Support the work of EU missions in Libya

In the recommendations adopted, MEPs support the valuable work of the EUBAM Libya and the EUNAVFORMED Irini, two EU common security and defence policy (CSDP) missions, in contributing to sustainable peace, security and stability in Libya.

When it comes to the sensitive issue of asylum and migration cooperation, Parliament also demands guarantees that any EU support for the Libyan border or security apparatus is conditional to the respect of international and EU law. Libya has for many years been a key point of transit and departure for migrants, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa, crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

The recommendations also encourage EU member states to negotiate a more ambitious EU migration and asylum policy in order to not indirectly facilitate illegal pullbacks by the Libyan border or security apparatus, to prevent the returning of people to inhumane camps in Libya, and to ensure no EU funding reaches Libyan parties involved in grave human rights violations.

The Türkiye – Libya maritime deal must be scrapped

Parliament finally urges the Libyan authorities to cancel the 2019 Türkiye – Libya Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea. It also calls on the relevant parties not to implement any clause included in the subsequent agreement on hydrocarbons signed on 3 October this year, as it foresees illegal drilling activities in other countries’ exclusive economic zones, including those of Cyprus and Greece.

The text was adopted by 454 votes in favour, 130 against with 54 abstentions.

“Libya is a war-torn country facing an institutional, economic and social crisis that severely hampers the process of national reconciliation and exasperates the Libyan people. Libyans should be able to decide their own future, free from external interference. A peaceful and democratic Libya could be an important partner for the EU, but peace and democracy will not last if the respect for the rule of law, and accountability for those who have committed human rights violations, are not guaranteed,” rapporteur Giuliano Pisapia (S&D, Italy) said after the vote.

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