Malta-led EU delegation talks migration and political stability in joint Libya visit

Evarist Bartolo was joined by his Italian counterpart and an EU Commissioner in a joint visit to Tripoli

Upon Malta's initiative, Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo paid a join visit to Libya together with the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Dei Maio and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, for talks with the Government of National Unity.

While in Tripoli, the European delegation held talks with the Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, Foreign Minister Najla El-Mangoush, and Interior Minister Khaled Tijani Mazen. 

During discussions, the delegation asked the Libyan government to define its priorities with regards to improving the wellbeing of Libyans who have been struggling with the cost of living and war devastation over the last 10 years. 

Bartolo, Di Maio and Varhelyi explained that a stable political framework is a key condition for a broader partnership with Libya, with a view of including Libya in the New Agenda for the Mediterranean and in the EU Economic and Investment Plan.

Here, they reaffirmed European support to the Libyan authorities throughout its recovery and national reconciliation process.

They went on to express commitment in collaborating in various areas, with aims towards economic growth, job creation and good governance.

To this end, the delegation urged the Libyan authorities to engage constructively with the European Union. They said that economic growth and prosperity can only be achieved through the effective countering of illegal economies, criminal networks and illicit trafficking in the region.

Moving on to irregular migration, the European delegation said that the EU will help strengthen Libya's capacity to contain its migration situation, both with regards to the Libyan coastguard as well as the control of Libya's southern borders.

"This is in full respect of international standards and human rights, primarily the rights of the most vulnerable people," a government statement reads.

The reopening of European airspace to flights from Libya, with the reactivation of direct connections with Europe once safety conditions are met, was also discussed on the visit.