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EU must accept Libya’s $1bn demand – Ellul Bonici

Sharon Ellul Bonici yesterday welcomed Libya’s proposal for a $1 billion (€707 million) in EU aid in exchange for collaboration to stem illegal immigration, saying Malta should urge the EU to assist Libya and ensure that this leads to an EU-Libya readmission agreement.
“If the EU could squander €16 billion on illegal immigration, then it can spare another billion to help Libya help us stem the tide,” Sharon Ellul Bonici said, referring to recent UK press reports revealing how the EU squandered over £14 billion (€16 billion) on a project that was to combat illegal immigration from North Africa as part of the Barcelona Process.”
“Some people are saying this is blackmail on Libya’s part, but I don’t see it that way. Combating illegal immigration is costly. The EU should take this opportunity and make sure it paves the way towards a readmission agreement with Libya,” Ellul Bonici added.
“Then it should strengthen Frontex in order to patrol the EU border and deal with the whole process itself – from asylum applications to readmission and reallocation.”
Ellul Bonici pointed out that the EU dishes out billions in aid across the globe, excluding loans. She said that this month alone, the EU had committed $640 million in financial aid to Pakistan, €400 million to Kenya and will be committing an as yet undisclosed amount to Afghanistan. Even the Solomon Islands are receiving yet another instalment of $80 million, which is roughly what Malta contributed to EU funds last year.
“If it takes another billion towards solving this problem it would be a billion well spent,” Sharon Ellul Bonici concluded.


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