First Published: 2017-01-25

EU hikes support for Libya coast guard to stop migrants
EU unveils plans to increase training for Libyan coastguard as states debate ways to get Libya to do more to curb migrant departures.
Middle East Online

Refugee in Greece

BRUSSELS - The EU unveiled plans Wednesday to increase training for the Libyan coast guard as part of new measures to stop African migrants leaving for Europe in a feared spring surge.

The European Commission, the EU executive, said the fragile UN-backed government in Tripoli should receive 3.2 million euros ($3.4 million) in fees and grants for an EU programme launched last October to train and equip the coast guard.

"The proposal is to increase significantly the training of the Libyan coast guards," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a press conference in Brussels.

Her comments came ahead of an EU summit in Malta next week to tackle migration and other issues. EU interior ministers meanwhile meet in Valetta on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue.

EU states are debating ways to get Libya to do more to curb migrant departures as the EU's naval operation "Sophia", launched in 2015 to crack down on smugglers on the high seas, is not able to intervene in Libyan waters.

The commission also called for mobilising 200 million euros ($214 million) -- an increase of 50 million euros from earlier plans -- to help Libya and its neighbours with general migration-related projects.

The money would go towards improving conditions for migrants in Libya and arranging for accelerated voluntary returns to their countries of origin with help from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

A European official told journalists on condition of anonymity that reception conditions for hundreds of migrants in Libya were "deplorable" and failed to meet international standards.

The commission also called for EU aid to the Libyan authorities to curb the arrival of Europe-bound migrants on its southern borders, and for working more closely with Libya's neighbours Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has warned there could be an "unprecedented" migrant flow in the spring.

Muscat wants a Libya deal that copies aspects of a controversial EU aid-for-cooperation deal with Turkey but it will be tough due to the political chaos in Libya since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.


More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers

Netanyahu confidant to testify against him

Iran emergency teams recover bodies from plane crash site