An UN-proposed peace deal for Libya was signed late Saturday, 11 July 2015, in Morocco by some of the country’s political factions. The agreement was widely hailed as a move towards stability in the war-torn country. The deal lays the foundation for the establishment of a national unity government and the granting of legislative authority to the Tobruk-based assembly.
Taking time out of the Greek crisis, Chancellor Merkel set off on a tour of the Western Balkans (8-9 July), reassuring the nations of Albania, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina of her support for their eventual joining the European Union. The three Balkan countries have long been campaigning to be part of the 28-nation bloc and see their candidature jeopardized by the EU’s preoccupation with what is happening with Greece.
On Tuesday, 16 June, EU Home Affairs Ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss a plan to distribute asylum seekers more equally across the 28-member bloc. The scheme is part of the European Agenda on Migration, a bundle of several different and concrete measures proposed by the European Commission to respond to the current migration crisis. Over the last months, the number of migrants venturing across the Mediterranean in the hope of reaching Europe has skyrocketed. With little support from other member states, Italy and Greece have been left to bear the brunt of dealing with this influx of people. Both countries want other EU member states to help out and ease the burden
On 27 May the European Commission presented its draft budget of €143.5 billion for 2016. The proposal, which requires approval from the EU Parliament and EU member states, focuses on creating jobs and growth, boosting innovation, dealing with the migration crisis, and further strengthening the EU’s role in the world. Spending hawks in Brussels and across the EU seemed pleased with the fact that the budget remains at the same level as for the current year. Kristalina Georgieva, Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, submitted the draft for approval. The Commission adopted the proposal as the first step in a procedure
On Wednesday, 13 May, the European Commission unveiled its highly anticipated plan to deal with the increasing number of migrants trying to reach the European shores. The long-awaited European Agenda on Migration made waves in the media with its system of immigration quotas and proposal for military action in the Mediterranean. The “immediate action” called for by the Commission establishes a set of measures to deter and dismantle traffickers’ networks, while also distributing the burden of resettling asylum seekers amongst EU member states. More details will continue to be presented on the various proposals, while the package will be discussed by the EU leaders at the upcoming European Council meeting in June
Libya is sick. And on 23 April, the European Council effectively wrote a prescription for ibuprofen. The absolute horror currently taking place in the Mediterranean- individuals packed onto a rickety boats like sardines in a can, trapped behind locked doors, drowning slowly as their last hope for a future escapes along with the last bit of air in their lungs- is symptomatic of the utter hell plaguing the failed state. A hell, bear in mind, that the West had a heavy hand in creating after the UNSC invoked the Responsibility to Protect, paving the way for military intervention and the subsequent ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
The recent tragedies in the Mediterranean, with the loss in a few days of hundreds of lives of people desperately trying to reach the EU shores, brought starkly to the fore the issue of migration, both of the asylum-seeking and the economic kind. In a typical fashion, EU ministers and heads of government reacted with half-baked measures, trying to respond to the emergency at hand but failing to put forward a comprehensive strategy or vision for addressing the issue and its root causes in the long run.
The deaths of nearly 800 migrants fleeing violence and political turmoil in search of safety on European shores, which took place over a month after Ms. Mogherini’s remarks in New York, prompted an emergency EU summit of the heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday, 23 April. But the meeting is already drawing criticism as many accuse the EU of providing a quick military response to a problem that begs a comprehensive foreign policy and humanitarian solution. The leaders in Brussels agreed that Europe’s “immediate priority” is to prevent additional carnage in the Mediterranean
Shaken by some 1,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in the past few days, while trying to cross through irregular ways into Europe, the EU’s foreign and home affairs ministers agreed today in Luxembourg to a ten point action plan to avoid such tragedies happening in the future. The plan foresees more resources for the joint operations Poseidon and Triton carried out within the mandate of Frontex, setting up a joint task force to identify human trafficking and smuggling networks, and sharing the responsibility of refugee resettlement among EU countries