Italian Parliament Approves €11.8 Million Funding for Libyan Coast Guard

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The Italian Senate approved a decree to refinance the Libyan Coast Guard, after the House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees voted in favour of the decision for six months.

The decree provided for “assistance to the Libyan institutions responsible for monitoring the maritime borders, to gradually make them independent in their technical and operational management.” It has planned to allocate €11 million and 884 thousand euros for Libya’s Coast Guards.

According to Italy’s Aki news agency, the Italian lawmaker for the Forza Italia party, Maria Tripodi criticized the Democratic Party’s vote against the decree. She noted that the adoption of the decree came thanks to the votes of the centre-right party.

Tripodi said that the Libyan file deserves special attention, considering that the renewal of the Italian mission in Libya is a measure wanted by Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini, who belongs to the Democratic Party.

However, on Wednesday, the Secretary-General of the Italian Democratic Party, Enrico Letta announced that his party will not vote in favour of refinancing the Libyan Coast Guard.

“Last year we voted in favour of refinancing with a commitment to change course. But this commitment was not fulfilled” Letta tweeted on Wednesday.

In July 2021, Italian lawmakers approved funding to train the Libyan Coast Guard despite reports of violations against migrants.

The training program is under an umbrella of Italian military missions abroad, which members of the Italian Parliament’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, discussed ahead of the vote.

Amnesty International called on European nations to suspend their cooperation with Libya on migration and border control.

From 2017 to July 2021, Rome and Brussels have spent about €1.1 billion euros to finance the Libyan Coast Guard, and other entities in the North African country.

Italy and Europe are facing sharp criticism for their support of the Libyan Coast Guard, despite its repeated violations against migrants heading to European coasts.