During the EU Foreign Affairs Council, agreement was reached on a package of humanitarian aid for Libya. This was after Malta took the initiative for this request to be placed on the Council’s agenda.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that during the meeting , the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, explained that humanitarian aid consists of funds which have come from existing EU financial sources and will be distributed to help Libya in the difficult situation it finds itself in. These funds will be given to international entities which are already working in Libya and which are in the best position to see how and where they are needed for them to reach those who require them the most.
Commissioner Varhelyi also mentioned a financial package of €35 million for the Libyan coast guard to help it carry out its duties in enforcing the law in Libyan waters.
Last week, Malta asked the EU to help Libya with a humanitarian package according to the UN proposal on the Humanitarian Response to Libya. According to the UN, 900,000 people need humanitarian aid, including women and children and one third of whom are immigrants and refugees.
While welcoming this agreement as a step forward, Minister Evarist Bartolo explained that a lot of work still needs to be done for Libya to get back on its feet and give a new life to those living there. He added that for this reason, Malta will continue to work in favour of a permanent political solution so that Libya can get back on its feet in peace and offers a future to its citizens.
Minister Bartolo said that the humanitarian crisis in Libya becomes a security crisis for the EU because the conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic and social effects will increase the reasons for more more refugees and immigrants to be exploited by human traffickers who send irregular immigrants towards Europe. Minister Bartolo mentioned the need for solidarity between all EU member states in the field of immigration so that Malta no longer remains alone, trying to shoulder more than it can cope with.