Former Italian PM Gentiloni Calls for a More Vigorous EU Role in Libya – Al Marsad

“Either we, as Europeans, play the protagonist role in Libya, or we will be powerless vis-à-vis the rapid developments in that country,” said Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, and former Prime Minister of Italy in an interview published today with La Repubblica.

[Libya, 7 January 2020] – The European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Paolo Gentiloni stressed that the policies of closed ports adopted by former Italian Italian Deputy Prime Minister and incumbent Federal Secretary of the Northern League, Matteo Salvini, towards Libya, exacerbated the state of instability and neglected economic and humanitarian support for Libya.

Gentiloni also pointed the finger against the former Interior Minister’s approach towards Libya, “he has only profited from the results of his predecessor, Marco Minniti, without continuing with the necessary policies to stabilize Libya.”

Gentiloni criticized US and European policies of disengagement in the protracted Libyan conflict which led to a vacuum that exacerbated the crisis and opened the door for other actors to step in.

The European Commissioner for Economic Affairs expressed his hopes that with more vigorous European involvement in the Libyan file, “Libya will be prevented from falling again into the abyss because, at stake, in addition to the geopolitical role of Europe, there are also national interests that are very important for Italy.”

In response to a question from La Repubblica on whether Europe could have been able to enter Libya to stabilize the country before the intervention of Russia and Turkey, Gentiloni said, “a new European mission can also be considered, but let’s not oversimplify by thinking that a European military mission, which is not there today, could have solved the Libyan crisis. The goal is to make the best use of all the cards we have available.”

Gentiloni said that Brussels now is giving priority to the Libyan conflict but there is no magic formula to strengthen the global role of the European Union. In general, we need a combination of European diplomacy, use of our immense commercial strength, strengthening of the international role of the single currency, and a common defense policy. These four dimensions  must be strengthened gradually to allow the European Union to have a role in the new big game that has opened up globally. If, however, we do not make progress, we are destined to continue reacting with resigned amazement in the face of events happening in areas close to us,” the former Prime Minister of Italy told La Repubblica.

© Al Marsad English (2020)

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