Libya needs more EU money to stem flow of migrants says Serraj

The EU needs to give Libya more money if it wants to stop the flow of migrants trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj said today.

Serraj, on the second day of his visit to Brussels insisted EU needed to be more practical in the assistance it gives. But he said  Libya was fully behind efforts to prevent flow of illegal migrants and terrorist movements.

“We are not going to mention the amount of money that is dedicated to Libya for this help because they are very humble, very small amounts,” he added.

He was speaking at a joint press conference with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. Tusk said the EU intended to put forward additional measures to combat the people-trafficking networks that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya.

He said the flow was not sustainable either for the EU or Libya with “the traffickers undermining the authority of the Libyan State for their profit.” Stopping the migrant route from Libyan to Italy “is in our reach,” Tusk added.

He also offered his continued support to the PC as it sought to implement the Libyan Political Agreement. He urged Libya’s various factions to put aside their differences to help accomplish this.

“The humanitarian and security situation in Libya has devastated the prospects of the civilian population and their hopes of a normal life” he said, adding “The EU will continue to provide assistance to the Libyan people.”

Afterwards Serraj also met EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, who echoed Tusks support. She stressed that talks over migration form only one side of EU-Libyan discussions. The EU was also most concerned about governance and security.

“You know you can count on us. We are friends, we are neighbours and we have so many things in common,” she added.

Serraj saw Mogherini and Tusk on the eve of the EU summit in Malta tomorrow.  The PC head was due to meet European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker later in the day.

Yesterday, following talks with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, Serraj said that  NATO and EU ships could be allowed to operate in Libyan waters if they helped support the Libyan navy.