Libya & the EU

Following the popular uprising in Libya in February 2011 and the attempts by the Gaddafi regime to suppress the protests, the EU took a number of steps to respond to the growing crisis. Building on UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011), it adopted a range of sanctions designed to interrupt the flow of weapons and money to the Gaddafi regime while at the same time engaging in extensive discussions with international partners to hasten the end of the conflict.

In parallel, it provided more than €80.5 million in humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, treat the injured, assist refugees, prevent human rights abuses and support demining. This assistance was channelled through trusted humanitarian partners with an established ground presence in Libya, the most effective way of helping those in need.

The EU's own presence on the ground developed rapidly. An EU office was opened in Benghazi in May 2011 moved to Tripoli in August 2011. It was subsequently inaugurated as a full fledged EU Delegation by the High Representative Catherine Ashton in November 2011.

Our Current Activities

The EU responded rapidly to support the Libyan people during the conflict. Our continued commitment to the Libyan people is an investment in our common future, as cooperation with Libya will bring benefits both to Libya and the EU. Moreover, through trade, cultural exchange and cooperation on security and migration we will support Libya's transition to democracy.

The EU is currently running a €30 million programme in Libya to address some of the most pressing needs. Activity includes support in the fields of:

  • Reconciliation, elections and the constitutional process
  • Protection of human rights and women's empowerment
  • Security and justice
  • Border management and security (EUBAM)
  • Migration
  • Public administration reform
  • Health 
  • Education, vocational training and culture
  • Media and civil society.

Our Future Strategy

As the transition progresses, our assistance will move from the current focus on meeting immediate needs to longer term programmes. In addition to the sectors where the EU is already active, some complementary areas of intervention are being explored, in the fields of capacity building, youth and employment. Several needs assessments are currently being undertaken by the EU Delegation.

In the longer term, we will seek to intensify our relationship politically and through financial and technical cooperation and the use of the different instruments foreseen under the European Neighbourhood Policy.