EU army plan to transform bloc into foreign superpower leaked in Brussels document
Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP
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A leaked document revealed that Brussels is finalising plans for “large-scale” operations in the North African state in the coming months. It will pit the EU against Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which have all become involved in Libya’s brutal civil war. The internal report, obtained by the EU Observer website, highlighted the need for an EU military mission in the region to curb human and arms trafficking.
“In this context, an EU military Common Secretary and Defence Policy engagement should be considered in order not to leave the entire field of activity in the military domain to third states,” the document says.
“In the long term and when conditions allow, a military CSDP engagement with a mandate to support the security sector reform process in the military domain should be considered.”
The dossier does not name the non-EU continues involved in what eurocrats describe as the “competitive situation” in Libya.
But it does suggest that Turkey had “continued denial of inspections” of suspected arms shipments to Libya in violation with a United Nations embargo.
It also alludes that the same country “maintains a strong military precedence in Libya and provides training to selected armed forces in western Libya”, especially the coastguard and navy.
Turkey dispatched troops to Libya last year and the country’s defence minister has been posting on social media about the interception of migrants off Libya’s coast.
The EU fears Ankara may be gaining leverage over the bloc by taking control of the central Mediterranean migration route.
It already controls the Greek route, which is one of the main routes illegal migrants have been using to travel to Europe.
The EU is hoping to compete with Turkish influence in the region, especially among Libya’s naval authorities.
Brussels hopes the offer of training and new equipment could help the bloc become a more dominant force.
“The provision of equipment should be linked to the acceptance of associated EU training by the Libya authorities,” the report states.
Libya’s long coast has acted as the launching grounds for traffickers sending thousands of migrants to the EU each year.
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It also has a vast desert controlled by tribes, militias and traffickers with links to terrorist networks.
The document states: “Libyan authorities have expressed a need for EU support on Libya’s borders, including in the south.
“Should the Libyan authorities agree, this may open the possibility of obtaining overflight rights for EU aerial surveillance assets over Libyan territory.”
EU ambassadors are expected to discuss the plans soon but the Commission’s foreign affairs arm has yet to announce the formal tabling of the proposals.
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France is expected to be one of the main supporters of a military mission to Libya.
Its foreign minister Jean Yves Le Drian echoed the sentiment of the EU report in a speech at the UN’s Security Council in New York on Thursday.
He said: “It is time to implement a progressive, symmetrical, and sequenced timetable for the departure of foreign elements from both sides.
“The European Union, Italy, and France are ready to do more to support the training and equipment of the Libyan coast guard.”
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