EP Plenary: EU support for the mediation process in Libya


Speech delivered by Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi, on behalf of High-Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell

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Madam President, Honourable Members [of the European Parliament], 

First, I would like to thank Rapporteur [Giuliano] Pisapia, and those who have contributed to this report. 

We very much agree with your recommendations. Active and positive engagement, in and with Libya, and stepping up work toward a comprehensive political solution that addresses all challenges on the, is crucial. 

After the hope and the progress, we saw thanks to the Berlin Process in 2021, Libya is again in a dangerous political stalemate. 

There is a large consensus that the only sustainable way forward is to encourage a consensual and inclusive solution, Libyan-led and Libyan-owned. This is in the best interest of the Libyan people who deserve a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. 

The new United Nations Special Representative for Libya [Abdoulaye Bathily] took up his duties in Tripoli. We sincerely hope that this will create a new positive dynamic for all Libyan actors to work together. Now that the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission has been extended for one year, Mr Bathily can focus on establishing a strategy to resume a political framework for negotiations, which has been missing for too long. This will require our strong joint support to build a meaningful and coherent umbrella for the political process. 

As European Union, along with the other international partners which are particularly active in Libya, we can make a difference by proactively supporting the mediation efforts – and we intend to do so. We must encourage the different Libyan actors from all sides to enhance dialogue and reach consensus. The call on foreign forces to withdraw from Libya must also be translated into practice. 

I would also like to stress that your report sends a strong message of support to the Libyan people, the approximately 3 million Libyans who had register to vote last year. As you know, the European Union had considered sending an Election Observation Mission (EOM) for Parliamentary and Presidential elections. This offer still holds, although we do not feel encouraged by the fact that there is no indication of a possible agreement on elections anytime soon, unfortunately.  

We must, therefore, support the work of the UN Special Representative and Libyan stakeholders to build a new, shared roadmap towards elections.  

As you know, efforts to contribute to stability and prosperity in Libya have always been high on the European Union’s agenda. Libya is on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council regularly, and the European Union’s joint priorities for Libya are set and clear.  

The European Union’s Delegation was among the first to return to Tripoli last year. Since then, the Head of our Delegation and team have been working relentlessly on the ground. Our engagement is not only political. It is also related to economic development and humanitarian assistance, complemented by our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions – namely, Operation [EUNAVFOR MED] IRINI and the European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM Libya).

The Libyans must own the process towards a durable political solution. 

We will continue standing by them in the Team Europe spirit to have them achieve this objective. 

Thank you very much for your attention. 

Link to the video (starting from 04:04): https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-233421 

Closing remarks 

Madam President, Honourable Members [of the European Parliament],  

The recommendations included in your report, and our exchange today, are important to inspire further joint efforts by the European Union and our main international partners to help the Libyans find a durable solution to the crisis.  

We will take note of your recommendations as a very good basis to coordinate the international support to the efforts of United Nations Special Representative, [Abdoulaye] Bathily. This is essential for the Libyan people and, overall, important for Northern Africa, the Sahel region, and for Europe.  

Thank you.  

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-233423 

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Gioia Franchellucci
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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