Criminals infiltrate Libyan coast guards – EU Commissioner

Olivér Várhelyi,1st from the left, and Paolo Duò, President of Cantiere Navale Vittoria, 3rd from the left, visiting a search and rescue Libyan patrol boat picture from the official European Commission website

The European Commission says there is convincing evidence that the Libyan coast guards, which it funds, are infiltrated by criminal groups.

The statement from EU Commissioner for Migration Ylva Johansson on July 6 follows the recent EU delivery of patrol vessels to the Libyan coast guard.

Libyan coast guards are infiltrated by criminal groups – EU Commissioner for Migration

According to the EU Commissioner, there are neighbouring and transit countries that are more difficult than others, such as Libya, where there is a clear indication of criminal groups that were infiltrating the coastguards. 

“Of course, this is not an easy process. That is why, in addition to working with these countries, we must also work with the countries of origin,” she stated.

Italy delivered patrol boats to Libya

On June 22, the European Commission and Italian authorities presented two patrol boats to the Libyan coast guard. Another was given over in February by neighbourhood commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.

At the time, Varhelyi stated that five patrol vessels would be handed to Libyan authorities in the coming months.

Libyan coast guard intercepted 120,000 migrants in 6 years

Since 2017, the Libyan coast guard is estimated to have intercepted and returned 120,000 migrants to Libya. They have also been seen on camera firing close and around migrant boats in distress.

Coast guard collaborates with migrant smugglers – police officer

According to one former Libyan police officer, the coast guard collaborates with migrant smugglers.

A UN fact-finding team earlier this year tied the Libyan coast guard to crimes against humanity.

The EU Trust Fund for Africa first funded the commission’s coast guard assistance. However, the most recent funding comes from NDICI, or a so-called neighbourhood, development, and international cooperation instrument.

The EU allocated millions to help Libya with border control

The European Commission provided €10 million from this budget two years ago to help Libya with border control. Another €45 million in regional funds had been launched to help finance border management in Libya and Tunisia.

The EU funds will also be used to teach Libyan authorities in charge of maritime border control, as well as the work of the country’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

photo: Official European Commission website

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