News BlogEEAS High Representative

The EU delegation in Libya without security. G4S persona non grata in Libya

(BRUSSELS2, exclusive) The company G4S had been selected by the European External Action Service to protect its delegation in Libya and was due to start its activities on June 1st. A somewhat hasty choice if we refer to the latest declarations coming from Tripoli (Libya). This company not only does not have authorization to carry out such security activities in the country but the Libyan authorities refuse its arrival. It is now completely officially confirmed. The provisional government (CNT) of Libya has just (on May 23) sent a note verbale to the European External Action Service (EEAS) to this effect. Doubt is therefore no longer permitted. And a new call for tenders should logically occur.

A funny security contract!

The award of this contract has already caused a lot of ink to flow. As our colleague mentioned EuObserver, preferential treatment appears to have been given to G4S. It therefore seemed quite abnormal that this company was chosen even though it did not have authorization to operate, while two companies – the Canadian Guarda World and the Franco-Hungarian Argus – had this authorization. It is also the latter company which until now provided, on a temporary basis, the security of the premises. Weird…

Can we conclude that there is a sort of favoritism as claimed by Street89, it is undoubtedly premature to say so. But such lightness seems difficult to explain or, at least, deserves a public explanation. Especially since G4S, which ensures the security of the diplomatic service installations in Brussels, has not yet really proven its effectiveness (having experienced it, observed it and collected it).

We can also ask ourselves the question of whether the tender system is really suitable and provides all the necessary guarantees and effectiveness for delegation protection contracts which require both know-how but also intuitive personae relationship.

As for the British tropism of the High Representative, I cannot believe that the nationality of her passport could have played a role, especially since normally this type of contract is rather the domain and the responsibility of the Administrative Director (Chief Operating Officer), D. O'Sullivan, an Irishman previously Secretary General of the Commission. What, on the other hand, is disturbing is the presence, at several points in the decision-making chain, of British people, notably Mike Croll who ensures the security of the delegations and signed the call for tenders.

NB: This affair broke out at a key moment for several security companies, where several contracts for the protection of European installations were at stake. A coincidence! 🙂

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).