EU leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation with Libya

Preventing the loss of lives in the Mediterranean was a top priority when EU leaders met at an informal summit in Valetta on 3 February.

Stefan Löfven och Donald Tusik
The EU leaders met in Valetta 3 februari to draw the guidelines for the strengthening of ties and coooperation between Libya and the EU. The aim is two suport the national development in Libya and to become more effective at combating human smuggling, thereby preventing the loss of more lives in the Mediterranean. The leaders also discussed the future of the European cooperation. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven represented Sweden. The photo is from the European Council President, Donald Tusk's visit in Stockholm last year. Photo: Governmental Offices/Martina Huber

EU leaders met in Valetta on 3 February to strengthen cooperation with Libya. The aim is to support the country's development and prevent human smuggling, which has already taken the lives of thousands of people in the Mediterranean. Future European cooperation was also discussed at the meeting. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven represented Sweden.

The photo is from President of the European Council Donald Tusk's visit to Sweden last year. Photo: Government Offices/Martina Huber

"I welcome the fact that the EU has agreed on measures to combat human smuggling and save lives in the Mediterranean. This work will be done with respect for international law and in close cooperation with the UN bodies for refugees and migration."

Mr Löfven made this statement when representing Sweden at the informal EU summit on Malta.

Libya is the main country of departure to the EU for migrants along the Central Mediterranean route and is a base for human smugglers. The joint Declaration adopted by EU leaders on Malta means that the EU is strengthening cooperation with Libya. This will include operations and development assistance to stabilise the country's fragile political process.

The EU leaders also discussed the future of European cooperation. This discussion is a continuation of their reflections at the informal summit held in Bratislava last September. The UK did not take part in the discussion due to the country's impending exit from the EU.