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Committee follows up on Operation Sophia and Libya

17 March 2017

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee holds a double evidence session with Joseph Walker-Cousins from the Institute for Statecraft and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a follow-up to its previous inquiry on Operation Sophia.


Thursday 30 March Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

At 10.05am

  • Mr Joseph Walker-Cousins, Senior Fellow, The Institute for Statecraft

At 11.05am

  • Mr Simon Jones, Deputy Head - Euro Atlantic Security Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Mr Edward Hobart, Migration Envoy, Europe Directorate, FCO
  • Mr Nicholas Williams, Head of North Africa Joint Unit, Middle East and North Africa Directorate, FCO and Department for International Development (DFID)

Likely questions

Questions for the first evidence session include:

  • How is the security situation in Libya, and what are the prospects for the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) reaching agreement with the House of Representatives and General Haftar?
  • Is it realistic for the EU to be seeking to intensify cooperation on migration given the limited reach of the GNA and the wider challenges facing the administration?
  • We concluded last year that Operation Sophia faced "an impossible challenge". Would you agree? What has the mission achieved?
  • What else could Operation Sophia do? Are its additional tasks—particularly providing training for the coastguard and navy—likely to have a meaningful impact on migration on the central Mediterranean route?

Questions for the second evidence session include:

  • Could you update us on the work that Operation Sophia has undertaken in monitoring the UN arms embargo, since this was added to its mandate in 2016? How effective is this embargo, and other restrictive measures imposed by the UN and EU?
  • The mandate for Operation Sophia expires on 27 July. What is the Government's position on the future of the mission?
  • What is your assessment of the situation for migrants in Libya at present? Is the Government confident that, with support from the EU and UK, the conditions for migrants in centres in Libya can be improved to an adequate humanitarian level?
  • In the UK Government's view, what can be done by the EU and its Member States to help improve border security, both in the interior and on the coast?

Further information

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