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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
Libya

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EU and Libya

The EU is determined to help Libya return to peace and resume its transition towards a stable, secure and prosperous country. The EU is committed to the “Berlin Process” under the auspices of the UN as the sole viable framework to relaunch the political process in Libya. In addition to diplomatic action, the EU supports this objective through its international cooperation.  Unlike most of the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood, Libya has not concluded an Association Agreement with the EU.

Bilateral cooperation

The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) was the key EU financing instrument for bilateral cooperation in Libya for the period 2014-2020. The new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) will frame the EU’s cooperation for the period 2021-2027.

Due to the unstable political situation in Libya, the EU planned its cooperation since 2017 through yearly ‘Special Measures’, rather than through a multiannual programming process, thus allowing optimal responses to the rapidly changing situation.

For the period 2014-2020, the EU’s assistance to Libya under the ENI amounted to €98 million and focused on the following sectors:

  • Governance;
  • Economic development;
  • Health;
  • Support to civil society and youth.

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Support in the field of migration under the EUTF Africa

Libya still requires an important support, in which the EU plays a major role, to tackle the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable people namely migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities.

Created in 2015, the North of Africa window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is the main tool for actions in support of migration related actions in Libya. It is built on the strategic lines set out in the Joint Communication of the European Commission 'Migration on the Central Mediterranean route - Managing flows, saving lives' and the Malta Declaration by the European Council to foster and support a migration management and asylum system in Libya that is consistent with international standards and human rights of migrants and refugees.

Libya is the main beneficiary of the EUTF North Africa window with a total funding of €455 million so far. The EUTF Africa supports migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and host communities with protection and direct emergency assistance in Libya. It also provides, as essential life-saving measures, voluntary humanitarian repatriation for migrants and humanitarian evacuations for people in need of international protection. It contributes to improve the daily life of Libyans themselves through its community stabilisation programmes, by supporting the delivery of basic services to local communities including IDPs affected by the conflict, as well as migrants living in host municipalities. Finally, it continues to strengthen the capacity of the relevant Libyan maritime border management authorities in the field of search and rescue through the provision of lifesaving equipment and training along international standards and in respect of human rights, aimed to prevent further loss of lives.  

Support to Libya under the Common and Security Defence Policy (CSDP)

European Union assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard is furthermore provided through two civilian/military missions under the CSDP: European Union Border Assistance Mission Libya (EUBAM Libya) and  EUNAVFOR MED Operation IRINI. The CSDP is part of the EU's comprehensive approach towards crisis management. EUBAM Libya contributes to the development of border management and security at Libya's land, sea and air borders while EUNAVFOR MED Operation IRINI was launched to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.

Other financing instruments

Libya receives humanitarian assistance with a focus on vulnerable populations such as IDPs and returnees. This support helps address the most acute needs, including health care in conflict-affected areas, protection and psychosocial assistance, as well as food, non-food and hygiene items.

In the higher education sector, Libya participates in the Erasmus+ programme, which promotes mobility and co-operation with EU higher education institutions and provides capacity building to Higher Education Institutions in Libya. These projects are implemented in partnership with Libyan universities. In 2015-2020, 152 students, professors and university staff moved to Europe while around 9 European counterparts travelled to Libya.

Libya also benefits from additional EU thematic programmes and instruments:

Further information

Factsheets available to download

Key documents

For specific information (programme level), see below