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European Commission


Brussels, 21 November 2013

New EU support to Libya for economic integration and human rights

The European Union has announced a €15 million package financed from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for “Support to Libya for Economic Integration, Diversification and Sustainable Employment” (€10 million) and “Protection of vulnerable people in Libya” (€5 million).

In line with the revised 2011-2013 National Indicative Programme which was signed on 30 August 2012 with the new Libyan authorities, and with the EU's aim to support the transition to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya, these programmes are addressing the need for a diversified economy, as well as the reinforcement of rule of law and human rights for the country’s most vulnerable people.

The “Support to Libya for Economic Integration, Diversification and Sustainable Employment” programme will also comprise two elements:

  1. the first one will aim to promote the development of a dynamic and diversified micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector in all regions of Libya, capable of creating employment and livelihoods for Libyans, and in particular for women and young people, through widely accessible and relevant MSME support services.

  2. the second will provide technical expertise for the development of an EU Libya Framework Agreement (the agreement would cover overall EU-Libya relations, including trade and economic cooperation).

The programme “Protection of vulnerable people in Libya” consists of two components:

  1. the first component will ensure that detainees are afforded treatment and living conditions, including respect for their judicial guarantees, which meet internationally recognised standards.

  2. the second component will provide psychosocial rehabilitation, community mental health services and socioeconomic integration through a comprehensive approach, reaching out to vulnerable and at-risk groups, including the economically and socially disadvantaged, Internally Displaced People and minorities.


Libya is amongst the least diversified economies in the world, dependent on hydrocarbons for 90% of state revenues and 70% of its Gross Domestic Product. The non-oil private sector is very small, and around 80% of employment is generated in the public sector, creating a patronage system for the distribution of economic opportunities. There is limited production in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and some of the products are exported to neighbouring countries, especially Tunisia and Egypt.

It is expected that stronger integration of the country within regional trade networks, and deeper trade and economic ties with the EU, can contribute over time to social and economic development. Negotiations on a framework agreement covering overall EU-Libya relations, including trade and economic cooperation, had already started before the revolution but were suspended with the outbreak of the uprising. It is now expected that discussions will be resumed with a view to developing an agreement on trade and cooperation issues between Libya and the EU modelled on those with other European Neighbourhood partner countries.

As regards the situation of vulnerable people in Libya, the EU Heads of Mission (HoMs) 2012 report on protection of vulnerable groups in Libya of 2012 noted that the situation is particularly dire for minority groups, such as the Tawergha, the Mesheshya and the Tuareg. As of March 2013, the Libyan Relief Agency (LibAid), reported 74,802 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), most of whom of Tawarghan origin, living in urban settings and camp-like settings in and around Tripoli, the Nafusa Mountains and Benghazi, and in detention.

In addition, Libyan prison systems are under-resourced and undergoing rapid change as regards jurisdiction and management. Given the acute vulnerability of most detainees and in particular those with a minority background, ensuring that detainees’ basic needs are met is key to addressing protection-related concerns.

EU's total programme in Libya now stands at €95 million, focusing on security, economic recovery, health, public administration, migration, civil society and protection of vulnerable groups. This is in addition to €80.5 million provided for humanitarian assistance during the conflict in 2011.

For more information

IP/13/1136: EU boosts support to democratic reforms and development in the Southern Neighbourhood

Website of the DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid:

Website of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle:

On the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI):

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