Italian MEP, Barbara Spinelli, remarked: “While the EU-Turkey agreement continues to be widely criticised, we are participating in the development of a new agreement with Libya which is even more worrisome.”

“I wonder if the EU institutions are aware of the worthlessness of their protests against Trump while at the same time developing operations that violate the Geneva Convention and ignore the clear recommendation made by the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said that the return of refugees and migrants to Libya should be avoided because those who try to escape face serious risks: torture in detention camps, sexual violence against women and executions.

“It has been confirmed by the United Nations that the smugglers are not the real danger. Instead, the dangers are the traffickers, uncontrolled militia and public officials of a crumbling state. 

“I ask the Council to stop this deplorable agreement on Friday in Valletta. I am addressing Italy in particular as the leading country in this operation: I remind my country of our colonial past in Libya.

“I also ask the Commission to get over its hypocrisy. It is simply not possible to consider the agreement with Turkey as non-replicable while at the same time financing and training the Libyan coastguards and coordinating between them and our own coast guard in order to prevent the arrival of refugees in Europe.”

Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol, also commented: “As a response to the inhumane measures announced by Mr Trump, the leader of the European People's Party, Mr Weber, came out to clarify that 'we are not about building walls, we are building bridges'.”

“I imagine these bridges he is talking about are the bridges back to Turkey, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria; bridges to deport people who are being denied international protection here in Europe.

“Or perhaps the bridge he was talking about was the international agreement that is going to be signed with Libya so that the Libyan coast guard intercepts migrants and refugees in the seas and returns them to a country which has not signed the Geneva Convention on refugees.

“A recent report from the United Nations states that refugees are experiencing malnutrition, forced labour, sexual abuse, torture and beatings in immigration centres in Libya. Some say they are like concentration camps!

“That's where these so-called solidarity bridges of the EU lead to: concentration camps,” Albiol concludes.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

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