EP Adopts Recommendation to Council on EU-Libya Framework Agreement

On 20 January 2011 the European Parliament adopted a slightly watered down recommendation to the Council regarding the negotiations on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement.  The adopted text is similar in most, but not all respects to the Draft Proposal prepared 23 November 2010 by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Rapporteur MEP Ana Gomes.  One substantive difference between the draft proposal and the final adopted text is a weakening of the language addressing the negotiation of the readmission agreement with Libya.  The final adopted text is also critical of the secrecy of the Council/Commission negotiations with Libya.

The Draft Proposal prepared by MEP Ana Gomes in Nov. 2010 called for an end to negotiations on the readmission agreement with Libya given the poor human rights conditions in Libya.  (Click here (pdf) or here for ECRE interview with MEP Gomes.)  The final text eliminated the call for an end to negotiations on readmission and replaced the language with a call for the respect of the rights of persons subjected to a future readmission agreement.

The Draft Proposal’s language stated:

“(d)  [the Council is urged] to cease pursuing a readmission agreement with Libya, as sending individuals back to a country with a record of continuous human rights violations and the use of the death penalty would be in breach of EU legal obligations;”

The final adopted text now states:

“(d)  [the Council and the Commission are reminded] of their obligations to ensure full compliance of the EU’s external policy with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, particularly its Article 19, which prohibits collective expulsion and grants the principle of ‘non-refoulement’;

[***]

(f)  [the Council and the Commission are urged] to ensure that a readmission agreement with Libya could only be envisaged for irregular immigrants, excluding therefore those who declare themselves asylum-seekers, refugees or persons in need of protection, and reiterates that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ applies to any persons who are at risk of the death penalty, inhumane treatment or torture;”

The final adopted text is critical of the secrecy surrounding the Commission’s negotiations with Libya:

“(a) [The Parliament] [n]otes the recent Council decision to finally allow a limited number of Members of Parliament to read the mandate given to the Commission to negotiate a Framework Agreement between the EU and Libya; regrets however the delay in this decision and calls for the EP to be granted access to the mandates of all international agreements under negotiation, in accordance with Article 218(10) TFEU, which states that Parliament shall be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure;”

The final text urges the Council and Commission to take steps to encourage Libya to ratify and implement various international agreements and to allow the UNHCR to work within the country.  For example, the Council and Commission are urged-

  • “to strongly recommend that Libya ratify and implement the Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol, including full cooperation with UNHCR so as to guarantee adequate protection and rights for migrants, and adopt asylum legislation that recognises refugees‘ status and rights accordingly, notably the prohibition of collective expulsion and the principle of ’non-refoulement‘;”
  • “to request that the Libyan authorities sign a Memorandum of Understanding granting UNHCR a legal presence in the country, with a mandate to exercise its full range of access and protection activities;”
  • “to encourage Libya to fully respect its pledges given when acceding to the UNHRC and thus urges Libya to issue standing invitations to those appointed under UN special procedures such as the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as well as the Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances and the Working Group on arbitrary detentions, as requested in the recent Universal Periodic Review on Libya; calls in the same spirit for unfettered access to the country for independent scrutiny of the overall human rights situation;”

Click here for final adopted text.

Click here for draft proposal.

Click here for link to EP’s Procedure File – Negotiations on EU-Libya Framework Agreement.

Click here (pdf) or here for ECRE interview with MEP Ana Gomes.

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Filed under Analysis, European Union, Libya, News, UNHCR

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