North Africa Libya

EUBAM Libya, is it on?

(BRUSSELS2) While the Libyan Prime Minister is on an official visit to Brussels this Monday (May 27), the Europeans are putting the finishing touches to EUBAM Libya which should be deployed, officially, from the beginning of June. The first personnel (the core team) are already on site in Tripoli to prepare for the deployment of this mission which will have an essential objective: assistance in the management of the Libyan borders. However, will EUBAM join the list of certain European civilian missions in difficulty once on the ground? This is the feeling that can emerge when listening to certain European officials explain the roles and issues on site.

« The eagle has landed »

« The eagle has landed ". It was with these rather harsh terms that a European official welcomed the approval of the mission by the 27 last Wednesday (*). However, the mission will not have an executive function… Its essential objective is – he explains – to: “ help, advise, train the various services in Libya involved in border security » and participate in the « capacity building ". The goal " is not just physical security, putting someone at the border and preventing illegal migration but taking care of borders as we do in Europe, without imposing the model". The training will extend to different Libyan services such as “ customs, police, border guards, veterinary services, but also human rights, particularly concerning migrants from the Sahe regionL ".

110 people in Tripoli

To accomplish this mission, 110 people will be based in Tripoli. because the security situation is still difficult but will be able to travel to the field to assist and monitor efforts.

But the devil is in the details. If we look at the future missions and areas of activity of the mission, this is still unclear. The mission must be grouped around " two modules : a training module for different areas and another to assist the government in terms of strategy, particularly to prepare legislation which no longer exists and which must be put back in place ". And when we ask officials about the sectors where they will intervene first, the answer is always the same. “ We are not working on just one aspect, it will depend on the Libyan authorities. We have identified areas where we can start training effectively and with reliable people ».

“It’s up to the Libyan government to decide”

The government must, in fact, decide deployments, numbers and equipment » and the Europeans are only there to advise and train. The problem is that " for the moment (…) different services say different things, so they have to sit around the table and agree ". An important role is left to local authorities. The difference with other areas of intervention is however clear. “ Che country is different from those where we usually intervene. It is not a poor country. And they can afford the expenses. But it's up to the government to decide ».

Libya and the troubles in the Sahel

For the Europeans, coordination between the various missions present in the region (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Niger) remains essential. " The unrest in the Sahel began with the war in Libya » we recall from the European side (**). We are also considering extending “ commitment " in Mali. " We are considering adding the police or gendarmerie to combat the problems in the north of the country, we learn from European sources.

Not even arrived, we are already thinking of leaving

It will be necessary " define an exit strategy for the mission”. Which is “already planned in a basic way ". The EU intends to continue its aid to Libya through “ other instruments available to us, financial instruments to continue our commitment, the rule of law, justice which are already underway ". This is also the case for the management of weapons stocks. Europe thus provides “ help through the Stability Instrument to secure weapons storage sites ". The Union also participates in mine clearance, for example. These different aids would amount to approximately “ 5 million ».

(*) The framework decision was adopted, by written procedure, on Wednesday (22 May), and the text was published in the official journal on Friday (24 May).

(**) NB (NGV): somewhat optimistic and reductive view of the zone. The troubled area of ​​southern Libya does not date from 2011!

Also read more details about the Club (subscribers): a mission in a difficult environment

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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).