EU to cooperate to fight illegal immigration from Libya

Europe has accepted Italy’s call for a better coordinated EU plan to handle immigration from Libya.

At a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Brussels on Monday, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Terzi called for a joint-EU strategy to step up cooperation with Libya to improve monitoring and border controls.

Mr. Terzi made the call after Libya warned that a deteriorating security situation in southern Libya threatened to increase illegal immigration into Europe from Africa.

During a visit to Rome last Saturday, Libyan Foreign Affairs Minister Ashour bin Khayyal said that “for now, the situation is not too serious but various indicators suggest that things could change for the worse.”

He added that many African immigrants had reached the border between Egypt and Libya. “So far, not in great numbers, but they could increase,” Mr. Bin Khayal said.

He said that Libya was ready to collaborate with the EU to fight illegal immigration “because it affects the world and the European Union.”

Mr. Terzi said immigration was a big, urgent issue to be addressed at European level.

The EU Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed that there was need for more financial support to control the EU borders, and better coordination of national border control efforts.

Italy’s objective is to prevent illegal immigration from Libya and new tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea, Mr. Terzi said.

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