Why is the EU Planning on Sending a Military Mission to Libya?


According to a leaked document, the EU is finalising plans for a military mission in Libya in order to compete for influence with other forces there, EUObserver reported.

The EU diplomatic service’s internal paper dated 1 July stated that Libya’s peace process required large-scale disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) of fighters, as well as a fundamental security sector reform (SSR).

“In this context, an EU military CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] engagement should … be considered in order not to leave the entire field of activity in the military domain to third states,” the statement read.

“In the long term and when conditions allow, a military CSDP engagement with a mandate to support the SSR process in the military domain [should] be considered,” it added.

The paper did allude to Turkey, when it reported on a “third country” that had “continued denial of inspections” of suspected arms shipments to Libya, in violation of a UN embargo. The same country “maintains a strong military presence in Libya and provides training to selected armed forces in western Libya, especially the Coast Guard and Navy,” it noted, after Turkey sent troops to Libya last year.

It explained that Turkey’s Defence Ministry has been tweeting about the interception of migrants off of Libya’s coast, prompting fears that Ankara may gain further leverage over the EU by taking control of the central Mediterranean migration route, as well as the one it already controls via Greece.

The EU report painted a worrying picture of Libya, saying there were still “many” foreign fighters there and that oil, arms, and human trafficking was going on unabated.