On Wednesday, four Balkan candidate countries, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, along with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, aligned themselves with a recent decision from the European Union, concerning the arms embargo on Libya. Serbia, however, remains the standout in its refusal to adopt these new measures.
The EU’s decision introduces an addition to Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333. It mandates member states to facilitate the disposal of seized arms and related materials, on behalf of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI. This is a military operation that works to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya’s high seas.
Moreover, the decision amends the CFSP 2015/1333 to match the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions concerning Libya, primarily UNSCR 1970(2011) and UNSCR 2292(2016). As per these adjustments, vessels sailing under the flag of a third-party country, travelling to or from Libya, are forbidden from transporting arms and related materials.
This prohibition includes goods and technology listed on the Union’s Common Military List, whether heading to or from Libya directly or indirectly. This directive applies to vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya and aims to enforce the arms embargo established by UNSCR 1970 (2011).
The refusal of Serbia to align with these new EU measures surrounding the Libya arms embargo indicates potential friction between Serbia, and the EU. The motives behind Serbia’s decision remain uncertain, and it is yet to be seen how this will impact Serbia’s diplomatic relations with the EU and the Western Balkans.
The EU has been enforcing this embargo and recently introduced new provisions that, among other things, oblige member states to facilitate the disposal of arms seized on the high seas on behalf of IRINI.