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Brussels, 1 September 2011

Responding to the Challenge of Stabilisation in post-conflict Libya

The European Union has stood by the people of Libya in their quest for freedom. Together with the international community it will continue to help Libya in a Libyan-led process of democratic transition and economic reconstruction, based on social justice, inclusiveness and territorial integrity.

In order to address the complex challenges of post-conflict Libya, a broad, comprehensive and swift EU response is already underway. This will cover a range of actions, short to long-term, from establishing trade and economic relations and security sector reform to technical advice and other targeted assistance.

The EU has provided over €152 million in humanitarian support - with €80 million coming from the EU budget, and mobilised EU civil protection teams and assets to alleviate the plight of all civilians both in Libya and at its borders. Since the very beginning, the European Commission's ECHO humanitarian teams have been working on the ground with all the humanitarian partner organisations to ensure that priority needs are met and aid is adequately coordinated both in Libya and in neighbouring countries. The current humanitarian priority for the EU is to ensure that medical assistance, basic supplies including potable water as well as due safety and protection are provided to the civilians. This emergency support will continue as long as it is needed.

Beyond tackling the most pressing humanitarian needs, the European Union is already preparing both immediate measures to support the stabilisation priorities of the National Transitional Council (NTC), as well as longer-term support programmes. These priorities include justice, policing and security sector reform, de-mining, public financial management, media reform, general public sector capacity-building, education, health, and the strengthening of civil society.

In addition to its humanitarian assistance, the European Commission can make up to €25 million available for immediate stabilisation needs. Building on activities already underway with NTC entities and civil society (initially launched in the Benghazi area), this includes:

  • Short-term technical assistance to the NTC to build up state institutions and public administration capacity, including support for democracy (e.g. preparations for elections), public financial management, strengthening the judicial system and public service management.

  • Strengthening respect for human rights and democratisation: The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) will provide support for Libya's judicial system, the free media, democratic transition (i.e. constitutional, electoral and reconciliation processes) and education. Human rights organisations and the rehabilitation of victims and women (psychosocial support, reinsertion) will also be supported.

  • Strengthening civil society and re-building of livelihoods through civil society organisations: This will involve training, short term technical assistance and capacity building to key personnel in both, civil society organisations and local authorities.

  • Health: support for urgent needs resulting from the conflict, in particular hospital hygiene and blood safety as well as longer term support for tackling communicable diseases.

  • Migration: support to address immediate issues related to both displaced people and border controls. Re-activation of projects with the UNHCR, the IOM and "RAVEL" (Regional Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration for Stranded Migrants which assisted evacuation from Tripoli and subsequent reintegration of stranded migrants in Libya to their countries of origin).

  • Security sector: The EEAS is developing possible activities in the field of security sector reform and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration as part of the broader EU approach outlined in this note, subject to requests for such support from the NTC and in liaison with the UN.

The European Commission is also ready to refocus medium term funding foreseen for Libya in an amount of €60 million on the needs of the new Libyan authorities in areas such as democratisation and civil society, public administration capacity building and social and economic development. This longer-term support programme will be prepared together with the new Libyan authorities.

Libya is a resource-rich country. In parallel with assistance, steps are being taken to lift restrictions on a range of economic entities which, previously under the control of the regime, were subject to sanctions. Already 28 entities have been de-listed. By doing so, the EU will provide a significant boost to Libya’s capacity to re-launch its economy,

The European Union also stands ready to resume negotiations of a Framework Agreement which can serve as a basis for political, economic, social and cultural dialogue and cooperation with the new Libya.

The European Commission services and the EEAS will closely co-ordinate with the EU Member States and international players, in particularly the United Nations and the World Bank in preparing a comprehensive, coordinated response to meet the needs of the new Libyan authorities. The EEAS has deployed a mission to Tripoli, to develop contacts with the NTC and make a preliminary assessment of immediate needs. This will be followed shortly by an inter-service mission, which will carry out a broader evaluation of needs as part of a wider process of consultation with the NTC and in close coordination with the UN

The developments in Libya are giving fresh momentum to the Arab Spring. The quest of the people in the region for freedom and dignity will continue. The European Union stands by them and supports their democratic aspirations and choices. This is reflected in the Communication of the Commission and the High Representative 'A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity' which lays the foundation on which that support will be built in coming years.

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