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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)

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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 Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI- Global Europe) is the main instrument for EU’s cooperation with external partners, including Libya, in 2021-2027. Under the bilateral envelope, the EU adopted in 2021 two programmes aiming at supporting democratic governance, the rule of law, private sector development and sound economic policies (€20 million in total) and in 2022 two new programmes aiming at supporting health and environment and climate change (€ 32 million in total). In the previous 2014-2020 period, the EU provided support to Libya with up to €98 million through the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

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


Support in the field of migration

Libya is a key country along the Central Mediterranean migration route, accounting for the highest number of departures towards Italy in recent years and hosting a particularly large number of migrants. In this context, the EU has been working to protect migrants and refugees and support local communities in Libya, while taking action to reduce irregular departures through border management and anti-smuggling and trafficking in human beings.

Support under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF for Africa) was launched by European and African partners at the Valletta Summit on migration in November 2015. The EUTF has been the EU’s main tool to support Libya in the area of migration, with a total of €465 million committed between 2015 and 2021. The majority of these funds goes to the protection and assistance of migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, alongside actions to support municipalities along the migratory routes and to strengthen integrated border management. The implementation of projects can continue until December 2025.

Support under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instruments (NDICI-Global Europe)

EU assistance to Libya continues under the NDICI – Global Europe instrument for the period 2021-2027, building on the work done under the EUTF. A total of €65 million has been allocated to Libya so far under the NDICI-Global Europe, with a focus on protection and border management. In addition, Libya also benefits from regional support for North Africa in the areas of returns and reintegration (indicatively €25 million allocated to Libya) and anti-smuggling and trafficking in human beings (allocation for Libya to be confirmed at a later stage).

Support to Libya under the Common and Security Defence Policy

European Union assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard is furthermore provided through two civilian/military missions under the Common and Security Defence Policy (CSDP): the 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

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 2022, 70 individual grants were allocated for Libyan students, professors, and university staff to spend a mobility period in Europe, while their European counterparts received 22 grants to travel to Libya. Libya also benefits from additional EU thematic programmes and instruments:

  • The NDICI Rapid Response pillar;
  • The NDICI Thematic programme for Human Rights and Democracy;
  • The NDICI Thematic programme for Civil Society Organisations.

Further information

Factsheets available to download

Key documents

For specific information on programming documents and financing decisions (see below):