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José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Ali Zeidan, Prime Minister of Libya
27 May 2013
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in his first official visit to the European Union. We have already met before but this was the first time he visited Brussels as Prime Minister. It was a pleasure to meet him personally.
Today we have discussed the current transition process in Libya and the overall situation in the region.
I want to commend Prime Minister Zeidan’s attachment to a peaceful and democratic transition and to his efforts to establishing good neighbourly relations with the countries in the region.
We want to be the partners of Libya in this process. We want to be at the side of the Libyans as they build a new modern Libya.
During our meeting, I have conveyed to Prime Minister Zeidan's our support to pursue the implementation of the constitutional calendar.
The next crucial step is the organisation of elections for the Constitutional Committee. The European Union stands ready to assist this process and is already in contact with the High National Electoral Commission to define our support.
It is important that Libya’s transition remains inclusive and that a spirit of national reconciliation prevails over attempts of sectarian divisions.
Over the last two years, the European Union has been delivering on its commitments to support the Libyan people in their transition to democracy.
The European Union's total programme of assistance now stands at €95 million focusing on public administration, security, democratic structures, migration, vocational training, education and health. Out of this package, €25 million is for direct support to the civil society.
The civilian Common Security and Defence Policy mission, EU Border Assistance Mission Libya, which has just been agreed will add to those efforts and will seek to reinforce Libyan capacities to manage its borders.
Stabilising the country and establishing common and unified security structures is essential to consolidate the rule of law, an independent judicial system and of course long term stability.
We will be assisting Libya to face all these challenges. For Libya is an important partner in our southern neighbourhood and an important player in the wider region.
We have today discussed in a very open manner what we can do together to give this relationship a stronger dimension and we have agreed to intensify on-going discussions aiming at negotiations for the conclusion of a bilateral agreement, a framework agreement between Libya and the European Union.
We know of course this will take time but it is something where both sides see an interest in investing time and energy. This agreement will provide the framework for the development of our relations for the long term.
So Prime Minister,
It has been really a pleasure to discuss this with you and discuss very openly and very friendly all the issues that are of concern to your country. You can count on our committed support to this democratic, inclusive, stable and prosperous Libya, for the sake of all the Libyan people. I believe it is certainly above all in the interest of the Libyans themselves but also very important for the wider region and also very important for the European Union.
I thank you.