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EU support of Libyan coast guard linked to reduction in migration, but with a caveat

Julian Wucherpfennig's research published in Munich Security Report and featured in German daily Die Welt.

Between 2014 and the end of 2018, EU countries have invested around 338 million euros in various programmes related to migration from Libya. These include financial support and equipment for the Libyan coast guard.

In the Munich Security Report published on 10 February, Julian Wucherpfennig, Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School in Berlin together with former Hertie School students Karen Lohse (MIA ’19) and Simon Rabaa (MPP ’19), contributed research examining the number of migrants that arrived in Italy or Malta, those considered dead or missing on the Mediterranean route and those intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and returned. The research shows on a timeline the proportion of migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard per attempted crossing.

They found that since the start of EU payments in mid-2017, the rate of migrants intercepted at sea has risen significantly. "This indicates a direct link to EU funds that were made available to the Libyan coast guard,” Wucherpfennig said in a story featured in German daily Die Welt on 10 February.

However, Wucherpfennig warned that the policies - and the use of EU money to fund them - comes with a moral price: "The Libyan coast guard regularly uses firearms and other violence to prevent migrants from crossing the central Mediterranean to Europe. It is also known that migrants intercepted in Libya are interned in camps managed by militias where they are regularly subjected to gross mistreatment, even torture," he said.

Read the full article in Die Welt (In German).

Read the research in the Munich Security Report published on 10 February by the Munich Security Conference.

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