The European Union is a gigantic bureaucracy with an enormous budget provided by EU taxpayers. It is made up of tens of thousands of people all working feverishly to integrate every aspect of EU citizens’ lives into one homogenous pan-EU system where national borders mean nothing. One component of the EU bureaucracy controls foreign affairs.
The EU’s foreign policy escapades have been an unmitigated disaster. Many of us know little or nothing about this area given that much of what happens here is, it seems to me, under-reported and yet the consequences of these escapades are hugely important to us all.
One such ‘unmitigated disaster’ is the EU intervention in Libya. The Brussels based Centre for European Policy Studies observed that “as a failed state in the European Union’s immediate neighbourhood that serves as a base camp for terrorists and a conduit for irregular migration to Europe, Libya is precisely the kind of place for which the EU’s foreign policy instruments were designed, or so one might think”.
The EU and others intervened in Libya and as a result Libya has now degenerated into lawlessness, instability and human suffering on an unimaginable scale. The European Union’s involvement in this debacle cannot be swept under the carpet and yet the pro-EU integrationists refuse to accept their complicity in this disaster.
Why does it matter to us?
The United Kingdom’s House of Commons issued a briefing paper in May 2018 which states that:
“The failure of the Libyan state is of fundamental importance to Europe for several reasons: it has become a gateway for unmanaged refugee flows from the whole of Africa across the Mediterranean; it provides a base for international terrorism and other international crime; and it leads to violence and suffering that spill over into and destabilise neighbouring states”.
If not prevented these refugee flows will ultimately destabilise the countries into which these refugees and economic migrants arrive. Countries that were once proud of their unique National and cultural identities will awaken one day to find their countries have been turned into homogenous regions of the EU. Their uniqueness destroyed by unfettered immigration and relentless EU integration.
How did it happen?
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK’s House of Commons was damning in allocating blame for what happened in Libya, concluding that:
“In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy”.
Unsurprisingly the Cameron Government did not accept these conclusions. One might also note the observation that the policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. This is a recurring theme from around that time in explaining well intentioned yet misguided interventions in the affairs of other countries.
The European Union joins the party
The House of Commons report quoted above refers to the failures as being within the French and UK Governments. They also incriminate the Obama Administration. These are independent sovereign Nations so how can someone like me assert that the European Union is culpable in this? A House of Commons research briefing states that:
“The collapse of Libya represents a major failure and a challenge for the European Union. When the EU began to develop its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in the 1990s as the so-called “second pillar” of the Union, a major and apparently attainable strategic goal was to stabilise the Mediterranean region by developing closer economic and political relationships with North Africa, including Libya. A CFSP “Common Strategy” to this effect was adopted by the EU in June 2000. The outcome was summarised in April 2017 by the independent Brussels think tank CEPS: … almost nothing in Libya has followed the liberal peacebuilding playbook, which assumes an improving security situation followed by reconstruction and sustained democratic political transformation. Instead, the EU has struggled to make any impact while the ongoing chaos in the country has deepened divisions among member states, with migration control emerging as the lowest common denominator for EU action. The EU still has a “Delegation to Libya” but for security reasons it has operated from neighbouring Tunisia since 2014”.
Some readers might argue that the EU was well intentioned in its efforts to help the Libyan people to which the response would be that the road to failure is paved with good intentions. Unintended consequences often arise from misguided strategies and the EU is well versed in failure in many areas, not just in foreign policy.
“Following the ousting of Colonel Gaddafi and the jostling for power among the various militias that sprung up during the civil war, the European powers that spearheaded the military intervention (France and the UK) entered a security vacuum but have done little to stabilise the country”.
The implementation of the EU’s strategy in Libya was obviously cack-handed. If proof were needed to support my accusation, the numbers of refugees whether alive or drowned in the Mediterranean are proof enough.
The modus-operandi for the EU is to avail themselves of a fortunate crisis such as the migration crisis to further push the EU integrationist agenda. Operation Sophia,the EU’s response to the problem it caused in Libya is the result of the preferred EU solution to the problems it creates, ‘more Europe’.
According to Wikipedia “as a consequence of the April 2015 Libya migrant shipwrecks, the EU launched a military operation known as ‘Operation Sophia’, with the aim of neutralising established refugee smuggling routes in the Mediterranean. The operation aims [inter alia] to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels as well as enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers”.
The operation has attracted criticism however. “The EU’s Operation Sophia has failed in its chief aim of disrupting migrant smuggling a committee at the UK’s House of Lords has found”.
In my opinion it cannot be disputed that Operation Sophia has reduced the risk to life but there are valid criticisms of the operation. The BBC state that “Italy accuses search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean of providing a taxi service for illegal migrants”. This point is supported by the UK’s House of Lords in a report that claims this kind of search-and-rescue operation acts as a ‘magnet to migrants and eases the task of smugglers, who would only need their vessels to reach the high seas’ had some validity. No less an interested party than the Libyan coastguard has warned that the EU’s ‘Operation Sophia’ boosts migrant smuggling, explaining that “People, when they get rescued, call their friends to tell them that there are EU vessels only 20 miles from Libyan waters to save them. In effect you can float your dinghy out to sea and the nice European Unionists are waiting in ships with medical staff, plenty of food and, I’m quite certain, you can even charge your own mobile phone on deck!
To sum up, the EU entered the conflict in Libya ostensibly to protect the Libyan people. In a move that was highly opportunistic, the EU quickly decided to pursue regime change which destabilised Libya even further. One consequence of this is that Libya may end up divided with armed militia (i.e. criminal gangs) controlling parts of the country. This is hardly a ringing endorsement for the calibre of decision-making in the EU. To add to this, the EU has now largely caused a migrant problem along its southern border and its solution to that crisis is to offer to ferry people fished out of the Mediterranean into the EU.
Naturally ‘front line’ countries are angry that they are expected to manage the migrant crisis alone and unsurprisingly, pressure is being brought to bear via the EU on countries like Ireland to accept more and more refugees into our country to help solve the problem caused in the first place by the EU.
In the context of Ireland taking more refugees, our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar stated that “it’s about solidarity and burden-sharing”. The irony cannot be lost on Irish people who were not the recipients of EU solidarity during the banking crisis a few years ago, a crisis severely exacerbated by Ireland’s membership of, and commitment to, the Eurozone. Our current Taoiseach expects us to have short memories.
Ireland is sadly led by men and women who owe their allegiance to European Union rather than their own people. They are quislings, apparatchiks of the European Union. As we await the next EU inspired disaster to befall the Irish people one can only hope voters remember their history at the ballot box. The time is right for change in Ireland.
This article was submitted by a National Party member. If you would like to submit an article for publication on the National Party website, follow this link.