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It is really an honour for me and also a pleasure not only to meet you again - we meet often and since a long time but also to welcome you and your delegation to Brussels for this visit that for us is very important. You have had excellent meetings with President [of the European Council, Donald] Tusk and President [of the European Commission, Jean-Claude] Juncker. And with myself we discussed at length- so this is why the delay - in a very positive, constructive and useful manner the entire range of different issues on which the European Union and Libya work together in partnership.
The European Union supports the Government of National Accord and your work, Mr Prime Minister [Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj], since the very beginning and is fully committed both here and on the ground to work with you for the benefit of all Libyans when it comes to security that we know very well is the first concern of your citizens; when it comes to economic and social opportunities and this is why the work we are doing together is aimed, in particular, at this: offering a secure country and from the field of education, health, services, trying to deliver for the Libyans in Libya.
This is our first and primary concern. We know very well that Libya is a country that is not only beautiful and a rich country, but also a country that is now trying to come out of a long political crisis and this is what the Prime Minister and myself discussed more at length – the ways in which the European Union can support his work to unite the country, to overcome this long and difficult time that Libya has been living and to make sure that the enormous Libyan potential can be turned at the benefit at the Libyans.
The European Union is, has been and will continue to be - I hope that even more than in the past - united at your side in this difficult task. We understand perfectly well the challenges, you know you can count on us to face them in the most useful, wise and productive manner for the Libyans.
We are friends, we are neighbours, we understand each other very well and we have so many things in common. You know that the European Union is there for you and for all the Libyans. We also discussed – because I know that what attracts media the most in these times – issues related to our cooperation on migration. I know also that President Tusk shared already with the media some of the elements of what we will also discuss also tomorrow in Malta and I believe that today was a very good opportunity for us to discuss together with the Prime Minister our cooperation in this field that I would like to stress is only one side of our cooperation and our partnership. The most important one is the one on the political governance of Libya, on the security of the citizens and on the economic and social situation in the country.
On migration, we have a good cooperation based on the work we are doing in particular for the training of the Libyan coastguards and navy with [EUNAVFOR MED] Operation Sophia, which is going very well and that would allow the Libyan authorities to control more effectively – not only for migration purposes but also for security purposes – their territorial waters. And we discussed also other parts of our work that can be the basis for further cooperation.
I would like to stress these two main points: first, again, migration is only one part of a very long and dense agenda and cooperation we share; and, second, that in all these fields, including on migration, our approach is that of partnership, respect and empowering, supporting as much as possible, the Libyan authorities to exercise full sovereignty and control of their country.
I will have the pleasure to share the excellent exchanges we have had with the Prime Minister not only tomorrow in Malta with the Heads of States and Governments of the European Union, but also on Monday with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 28 Member States as we have the Foreign Affairs Council and we have Libya on the agenda, as the main point, and where the focus will be exactly this: the European Union's support to Libya on all different fields where we need to work together.
And Mr Prime Minister, I would like to thank you very much again for your leadership, your courage and our excellent cooperation.
Q. Did you discuss any potential additional financial help from the EU to Libya as Mr [Fayez Mustafa al-] Sarraj said to President Tusk this morning that the EU is not giving enough money to the country?
We discussed the current European Union's support to Libyans that covers a very wide range of fields, mainly on the humanitarian side, but also on services but also on guaranteeing security in different forms.
We discussed also ways to improve, not only to increase potentially the support but also to improve the disbursement of our financial support, make sure as Prime Minister mentioned very rightly that not only the money is transformed in projects – which is happening – but also that the projects are run in a way that benefits directly the Libyan citizens.
We have to understand that we are talking about a complicated situation on the ground - Prime Minister knows better than anyone else - but we have to understand that the situation is challenging, but our common intention is to not only to maximise the impact of the current support - that is there - but also to explore possible additional support in specific sectors where this can be immediately for the benefit of Libyans.
We have an interest as Europeans to invest in the lives and the well-being of the Libyans who - I have said many times in these last years - have suffered far too long and far too much from a crisis. And I believe they are dreaming and looking forward to a normal life again.
Link to the video (remarks): http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I133000
Link to the video (Q&A): http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I133002