The European Commission will be required to update and sent a periodic monitoring report on the EU “Support to Integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya” programme as well as the information in the petition to the European Court of Auditors (ECA) for inclusion in the special evaluation report on the Trust Fund for Africa.
On 1 September 2021, the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions discussed the petition submitted by ARCI, ASGI and GLAN on the distortion and mismanagement of development funds used to provide equipment and training to the so-called Libyan coast guards and to stop migrants in the central Mediterranean.
For years, the EU and Italy have been committed to constantly provide material support to the Libyan authorities, thus contributing to the dramatic abuses in one of the most notorious detention systems in the world. The consequences of these policies are visible, with the latest incident occurring in July 2021 when a boat of migrants fleeing towards Europe was the target of gunfire from a Libyan coast guard patrol boat donated by Italy and equipped with Italian and European funds.
The Petition to the originates from a complaint filed by the same organizations to the EU Court of Auditors in April 2020 and it is an additional attempt by the three organizations to denounce the complicity of the EU in illegal refoulements to Libya under the “Support to Integrated Border Management and Migration in Libya” programme funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by Italy.
The petition and the complaint call in question the Border Management Programme in Libya, to which the Union has so far allocated 42.2 million euros from the European Trust Fund for Africa, while another 15 million euros are already planned up to 2024. Under this programme, European development funds are mismanaged to provide equipment, training, and technical assistance for border control activities in the absence of proper human rights safeguards, monitoring and review as required by EU financial regulations and international laws on human rights.
In yesterday’s meeting, we asked the PETI Commission to keep the petition open until the European Parliament has obtained assurance that the programme is implemented in compliance with EU legislation, with priority being given to the protection of the rights of migrants. These aspects were highlighted by the members of the S&D and Greens/EFA groups, and specifically in the speeches by Agius Saliba (S&D), Zdanoka (Greens) and Evi (Greens/EFA).
The President of the PETI Commission welcomed our requests by keeping the petition open and asked the European Commission to update and send the periodic monitoring report on the programme as well as the information of the petition to the ECA for inclusion in the special report on the Trust Fund for Africa.
This first positive outcome encourages us to continue our joint work until the EU and Italian authorities put an end to the Italian and European complicity with the Libyan authorities in the pushbacks and confinement of people in transit in Libya’s hellish detention system.