8, April 2020
The European Union says some of its training missions have seen personnel cuts in the Balkans and Africa. This is due to conditions imposed by hosting countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The bloc has no intention of halting those missions though, saying that security is the priority.
Speaking on Monday after chairing talks between EU defense ministers via video conference, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said it was important to keep the six missions going “to avoid a negative security impact.”
It’s also launched a new mission off the coast of Libya. The purported goal is to monitor the UN arms embargo on Libya. But what many fear, is that it’s just another attempt at keeping thousands of migrants off European shores. According to Human Rights Watch, EU states and institutions are sustaining a network of detention centers within Libya, where torture, sexual violence, extortion and forced labour are rife.
Part of the EU’s new mission is to continue training the Libyan coastguard, so they can intercept migrants and asylum seekers at sea more effectively. The EU says it is providing security, and stopping arms from being trafficked, as well as stemming the flow of migrant. But observers say security measures should not override humanitarian endeavors at a time when the world is facing a common threat.