EU Foreign Ministers adopt legislative amendments suggested by Malta aimed at disrupting migrant smugglers’ business model

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Jul 17, 2017
EU Foreign Ministers adopted legislative amendments, proposed, and negotiated by Malta during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, concerning the regime of restrictive measures aimed at stopping the supply of goods to smugglers of human beings in Libya. “This initiative, which targets goods used by smugglers such as dinghies and motors, is extremely important in disrupting the operations of traffickers and is fully in line with the actions envisaged by the Malta Declaration of 3rd February, 2017”, Minister Abela said at the Foreign Affairs Council. He also called on the EU to consider how this initiative could be extended internationally. Through these measures, the direct or indirect sale, transfer, or export of such equipment by EU member state nationals or from the territories of member states, would be subject to prior authorisation by the competent authority of the exporting state.
The ministers held a discussion on the political and security situation in Libya. Minister Abela expressed Malta’s continued concern at the political stalemate and stated that the ultimate goal remains that of all-inclusive dialogue based on the Libyan Political Agreement. The Minister reiterated Malta’s support to the efforts made by the United Nations to register progress on this priority and welcomed the appointment of Special Representative Ghattas Salame, adding that the EU and its member states should continue to put their weight behind these efforts and urge political and military powerbrokers to find a long-awaited solution. The ministers agreed that Libya should remain high on the EU’s agenda and adopted Council Conclusions on Libya.
In this context, they also addressed the issue of migration with a particular focus on the Central Mediterranean Route - a discussion continued over lunch in the presence of the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The ministers supported the various actions identified by the Malta Declaration, including projects for the development of Africa - through the Trust Fund for Africa and the newly adopted European Fund for Sustainable Development (the latter negotiated and concluded by the Maltese Presidency) - as well as support to and capacity building of the Libyan Coast Guard. The Council expressed solidarity with Italy and the ministers supported Italy and the work being done in the context of the humanitarian response. They stressed the importance of the EU continuing to work closely with the IOM and the UNHCR in a comprehensive way, including on adequate reception capacities.
The evolving scenario in North Korea and its impact on regional and international stability was also addressed by the ministers, and the Council adopted Council Conclusions in this regard. The ministers had a discussion on the EU’s Global Strategy, focusing on the next steps concerning implementation with a view to identifying priorities for the coming months, and building upon progress already registered.