Shocker! According to new EU reports, Libya has neither the strategy nor the capacity to slow migrants from streaming into Europe this summer. Reuters:
Libya’s U.N-backed government has no clear plan to help prevent more migrants reaching Europe’s shores this summer, European Union officials said on Thursday, citing confused requests for equipment to patrol its shores.
Libya’s newly trained coastguards lack a strategy on where to deploy or how to detect and intercept smugglers, officials told Reuters, basing their analysis on two documents prepared for EU defense ministers meeting in Malta, the route to Italy on which thousands of people drowned last year.
It turns out, contrary to the most fervently held wishes of ostrich-like officials, failed states are not great at deterring migrant flows. But let’s not heap the scorn too heavily on feckless eurocrats in charge of managing the mess: this is not all their doing. This one is ultimately on the consciences of Western leaders, including President Obama, who thought they’d have a tidy little humanitarian intervention in Libya.
Publicly, some EU leaders are still trying to convince the public that the Libyan coast guard is up to its task, but the spin is more comical than anything. According to an EU spokesman quoted by Reuters, we should be reassured simply because its Libyan trainees are showing up to work in the first place: “So far, those newly trained members have returned for duty after rest periods, which is a sign of their commitment.”
Meanwhile, an increasingly anti-European Turkey has been threatening to renege on its end of the EU-Turkey migrant deal, raising fears of resurgent migrant flows on another front. Taken together, these developments hardly inspire much optimism that the migration problem is under control.