Brussels, 12 November 2008
Libya and the EU start tomorrow in Brussels the negotiations on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement. European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, joint by EU Presidency, will formally launch the negotiations in a meeting with the Libyan representatives led by Abdulati Elobeidi, Secretary for European Affairs, and Mohamed Tahar Siala, Deputy Secretary at the General People Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya. The future agreement will establish the framework of the relations between the EU and Libya.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “This was a long awaited moment since the 2004 EU’s decision to lift the sanctions against Libya and to start a policy of engagement with this country. I am pleased that we can finally launch these negotiations. Libya is the last south-Mediterranean country with which the EU has no contractual relations and we are keen to establish a clear, long-lasting legal framework in order to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with Libya. The Commission has received from the Council a broad negotiation mandate that proves the EU’s aims at concluding with Libya an agreement as ambitious as Libya is prepared to consent, covering areas such as political dialogue, trade, energy, migrations and environment.”
The Commission's negotiations mandate had been adopted on 24 July 2008 by the Council. The objective is to conclude with Libya a broad agreement providing for political dialogue and cooperation on foreign policy and security issues, for a free trade area as deep and comprehensive as possible, for cooperation in key areas of common concern such as energy, transport, migration, visa, justice and home affairs, environment and other topics like maritime policy and fisheries, education and public health.
Fundamental principles underpinning the Agreement shall be the respect for human rights and democracy, the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the commitment to the rules of the market economy.
The future agreement, if concluded in line with the level of ambition currently stated by the parties, will have a high potential for the development of deep cooperation, opening the way to a strong political partnership and to the increase in trade and investments between Libya and the EU.
At present, Libya benefits from an EC medical and technical cooperation programme in the area of HIV/AIDS for a total allocated amount of €8 million. This programme is implemented in the framework of the EU Action Plan for Benghazi to which participate also other public and private donors.
In the field of migration the EU and Libya are already cooperating since 2004. Two projects have already been financed under the thematic programme “Migration and Asylum” one concerning the control of the borders with Niger and one on assistance to voluntary return of migrants, while a third project should start in early 2009.
A VIP corner with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Abdulati Elobeidi and Mohamed Tahar Siala will take place on 13 November 2008 at 11h00 in the Berlaymont building.
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