By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 9 May 2017:
The EU considers Libya as a potential major economic partner and will in the coming years work to make sure this is translated into reality, EU ambassador to Libya Bettina Muscheidt has told the Libya Herald.
She was speaking in Tripoli at an informal discussion with Libyan youth and civil society organisations organised by the EU mission to celebate Europe Day today.
The discussion was divided into three parts, the first looking at how Libyans perceive the EU, the second on the shared values of Libya and the EU, and the third on future relations between the two.
One of those attending Mohamed Alnajem, the chairman of the Libyan Centre for Press Freedom, told this newspaper that there needed to be greater contact between Libyan civil society activists and representatives of the EU.
Conceding that many Libyans see the EU as full of worthy sentiments but with few deeds to back them up, he said that Libyan activists also had to respond to Europe’s position on a number of issues.
“The EU is a large institution which has no united policy towards the Libyan ssituation. Nonetheless I believe that [Libyan] civil society leaders must unite behind the the shared values we have with the EU, such as human rights, the independence of judiciary, the rights of local communities and other values,” Alnajem stated.
Some were more dismissive. One human rights activist attending the event who did not want to be named was openly critical of the EU’s involvement in Libya, describing it as superficial.
“Though I support such discussions and sessions, I don’t think that the EU is at all serious in trying to make something positive happen in Libya. It’s just happy with arranging conferences and events,” he said.
There was considerable speculation today, however, as to when the EU delegation would return to Tripoli and operate from there.