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The Vicious Circle of Fragmentation: The EU and the Limits of Its Approach to Libya


Due to the weak state structures inherited by Qadhafi’s regime, Libya has entered a vicious cycle of fragmentation since 2011, as sub-national and regional players have engaged in a competition for resources and power. The involvement of several international actors has exacerbated these dynamics, turning Libya into a proxy conflict. EU action in Libya has been undermined by internal divisions, especially between France and Italy. Whatever common action the EU has been able to agree upon has focused more on crisis response than long-term benefits, although lately there has been a new investment in diplomacy too. The EU has an interest in Libya centred on security, energy, migration and political pluralism. The EU should mitigate the constraints on its ability to develop a more joined-up policy by creating mechanisms to coordinate actions of EU institutions and individual member states and, on this basis, provide support to Libya’s security sector, economy and migration management structures.

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