The EU, Libya and COVID-19

REPORT AT A GLANCE

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The EU’s response to the Libya crisis has entered a new stage in recent weeks. Even as Member States agreed on implementing a new mission in the Mediterranean Sea to monitor the flaunted international arms embargo, the unexpected affect of COVID-19 on the globe has added yet a new dimension to the Libya conflict. This has highlighted several problems in the European approach as the virus outbreak has necessitated a much more robust response from Libyan authorities in monitoring international involvement than any European initiative so far. However, Libya is unprepared to merely move from a war to being devastated by a disease outbreak, especially considering the level of neglect that the Libyan health system has suffered for several years. All these factors raise a new set of priorities for policymakers to consider in order to support and alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people

 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

>  EU Active Surveillance is a compromised mission due to the “pull-factor” clause regarding possible incentives for migration.

 

There is also a lack of detail on enforcement measures, and scope of the mission.

 

> The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused measures by Libyan authorities to restrict further international movement into the country, which, in addition to its war environment, has shielded the country from disease.

 

> This may be a benefit to reducing the intensity of armed conflict in the short-term.

 

> However, Libya’s health services are desperately underprepared should the viral outbreak take hold there.