Question No. 257
Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the EU Libya migration agreement; the efforts being made to safeguard refugees returned to Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 11th July, 2017.
Ref No: 32298/17
There is no EU Libya migration agreement as such. Rather the EU has proposed a number of ways to help Libya to manage and control the flow of migrants risking their lives, and it continues to seek solutions to prevent further loss of life and to improve conditions on the ground for migrants.
The March European Council confirmed the EU’s commitment to assist Libya as set out in February’s Malta Declaration. That commitment is broad-ranging, including capacity building, training, and the provision of equipment and support for the Libyan national coast guard and other agencies. It also seeks to ensure that there are adequate reception capacities in Libya for migrants, including through working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
In April, the EU approved a €90 million programme to step up protection of migrants and to reinforce migration management in Libya. A key objective is to provide multi-sectoral assistance and protection to migrants, refugees and host communities in different locations inside Libya, in particular inside detention centres, at disembarkation points and in urban settings. This programme is being implemented through a number of international agencies including the UNHCR and UNICEF. The €90m is in addition to the €120 million previously announced by the EU for migration-related support for Libya.
Migration along the Central Mediterranean Route was discussed at the European Council in June, which made clear that continuing migratory flows leading to an ongoing loss of life remains an issue of urgent concern. It agreed that the EU and its member states had to step up coordination and delivery on all the elements contained in the Malta Declaration, the Partnership Framework and the Joint Valletta Action Plan, underpinned by sufficient financial resources. Training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and the Council agreed that it should be speeded up. Cooperation with countries of origin and transit is to be reinforced in order to stem the migratory pressure on Libya’s and other neighbouring countries' land borders. The European Council underlined in this context the importance of supporting the G5 Sahel Joint force (recently established to address the threat of terrorism, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime in the region which comprises Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger). There, as elsewhere, the disruption of the business models of human smugglers and traffickers remains a key objective, including by better controlling the trade in equipment used by them.
The EU will continue its active engagement with Libya to see what more can be done to address the difficulties migrants face there.