The EU Foreign Ministers have agreed with Italy’s call, voiced by Foreign Minister Terzi at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, for closer coordination with Libya at the European level on border security and immigration issues. The FAC agreed, too, with the Italian call for a change of pace by the EU with respect to assistance for the Libyan transition.
EU support important for Libyan stability
The question of illegal immigration was raised by Libyan Foreign Minister Ashour Bin Khayal during his meeting with Terzi at the Foreign Ministry in Rome. The two discussed the potential increase in flows of illegal migrants from the coasts of North Africa and, more specifically, from Libya. Terzi reported these points to his colleagues, with various member states, and High Representative Catherine Ashton, taking them on board and noting the importance of Libyan stability and of strong support from the European Union.
The EU Foreign Ministers agreed on the need for greater support for border stability and a more effective coordination mechanism for the efforts made by individual states at the national level and between member states and the EU. Their discussion also revealed a degree of optimism as to the Libyan transition, which could become another success story. Libya, the FAC underscored, has a number of positive factors in its favour: a relatively homogeneous population; its own resources; and the absence of a radical Islamist problem.
Tripoli is not exerting pressure with respect to illegal immigration, Terzi explained to journalists: indeed, combating this phenomenon is in the common interest. “When we speak with the new Libya, whether with this or the future government, we are speaking about a partnership”, explained Terzi. “We have no intention of being the parties who exert, or are subjected to, undue influence”, he added. Italy’s goal is to “prevent new inflows of illegal immigration and new tragedies in the Mediterranean”.
“We have taken on board the call by the Libyan Foreign Minister, Ashour Bin Khayal, for a change of pace in strengthening the partnership with his country”, Terzi pointed out. A partnership characterised by “mobility, and which envisages a role in strengthening the democratic process at the institutional level, with the elections that will be taking place in late June, and the instruments and policies that must prevent the flow of illegal immigration”.