Following the popular up-rising in Libya in February 2011 and the attempts by the Gaddafi regime to supress the protests, the EU took a number of steps to respond to the growing crisis. In particular building on UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) it adopted a range of sanctions designed to interrupt the flow of weapons and money to the Gaddafi regime while at the same time engaging in extensive discussions with international partners to accelerate the end of the conflict. In parallel it provided more than €80.5 million in humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, treat the injured, assist refugees, prevent human rights abuses and support demining. As ever this assistance was channelled through trusted humanitarian partners with ground presence as the most effective and speedy way of getting help to those in need.
The EU's own presence on the ground developed rapidly with an EU office opening in Benghazi in May 2011 and an office in Tripoli in August 2011, subsequently opened as an EU Delegation by the High Representative Catherine Ashton in November 2011.
The EU responded rapidly to support the Libyan people during the conflict. Now it is important to keep the momentum of change. Our commitment to the Libyan people is an investment in the future, as cooperation with Libya will strengthen both Libya and the EU. Moreover through mutual trade, cultural exchange and cooperative approaches on migration and security we will help maintain the momentum and support the transition to democracy.
Our immediate objective has been to support stability in the country in order to allow for the holding of peaceful and credible elections of a Constitutional Council.
The EU is currently running a €30 million programme in Libya to address some of the most pressing needs. Activity includes support in the fields of:
As the transition progresses, our programmes of assistance will move from the current focus on meeting immediate needs to longer term programmes utilising the outcome of a number of needs assessments currently being undertaken by the EU in the areas of border security, civil society and elections. In the longer term we will seek to intensify our relationship politically and through financial and technical cooperation and the use of the different instruments foreseen under the European Neighbourhood Policy.