EU plans to cut smugglers’ supplies in Libya

TMP – 20/06/2017

Shipments and deliveries of rubber boats, engines and other supplies could be seized to prevent them entering the hands of smugglers in Libya.

The European Union is looking at ways of preventing smugglers profiting from the dangerous and illegal sea crossings in which thousands of migrants have died off the Libyan coast trying to reach Europe.

 Cutting off the supply of these products is one mechanism being explored by the Maltese Foreign Affairs Ministry.

 “Those goods can easily be exported from the EU to Libya and directly reach the smugglers. What I suggested to my colleagues is that we establish a method of control over these exports to Libya,” Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella said.

EU authorities want to introduce new measures giving them powers  to stop the export of goods to Libya if they deem there is a reasonable ground to believe that the goods might end up in the hands of smugglers. At the moment, EU member states are not able to stop such shipments to Libya.

“A lot of thought went into this proposal, and our plan is to ensure that legitimate trade is not negatively impacted. This is a new idea, and hopefully, EU member states agree that the administrative burden created by checking the export of these goods to Libya is worth shouldering in order to cut off the supply of these goods to human smugglers,” Minster Vella added.

Feedback from other EU member states has been positive and a final decision is expected soon.