19 octobre 2021 Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, travelled to Benghazi and Tripoli, Libya, on 24 and 25 May 2005. In talks with the highest authorities, including Colonel Muammar Khadafi and Libyan Prime Minister, Shokri Ghanem, she discussed how to advance EU-Libyan relations, including under the Barcelona Process, and raised the case of Bulgarian and Palestinian medical workers under sentence of death in Libya. The Commissioner’s trip has also been an opportunity to raise international awareness of the Benghazi AIDS tragedy. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner explained to the Libyan side work underway to implement the EU-sponsored Action Plan in favour of those affected by HIV/AIDS in the country. She met children suffering from HIV/AIDS in Benghazi and their families, as well as Libyan medical personnel. She also visited the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical workers in their prison in Tripoli. These visits are the first ever by a high level EU representative.
On the eve of her visit, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: “I have the deepest sympathy with all those infected with HIV in the Benghazi hospital. During this trip, I wanted to demonstrate that Europe’s compassion is matched by very concrete actions to alleviate this suffering, and to improve Libya’s capacity to prevent infection spreading.”
The Benghazi AIDS Action Plan is designed to address the entire process of treating HIV: through provision of supplies and expertise, improved procedures and specialist training to improve blood transfusion practice, treatment of infected patients and their social reintegration, and prevent further outbreaks.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner also said: “The EU is deeply concerned at the plight of the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical staff condemned to death in May 2004. Today I raised this case with Colonel Khadafi, underlining Europe’s strong desire to see the evidence that led to the medics’ conviction re-examined and that they should be released as soon as possible”.
5 Bulgarians and 1 Palestinian have been in prison in Libya since the outbreak of HIV/AIDS at the Benghazi hospital in the late 1990’s. The EU has repeatedly expressed serious reservations about the basis on which they have been prosecuted and tried, their treatment in prison, and delays in the process.
The EU currently has no formal relations with Libya, but decided in October 2004 to respond to significant developments in Libya with a new policy of engagement. Libya was invited in 1999 to join the Barcelona Process, and in 2004 indicated its intention to join, though no formal request has been made.
Joining the Process would open up to Libya the possibility of working with regional partners on an equal footing on political issues, access to EU technical and other assistance, the chance to participate in regional infrastructure initiatives, as well as the opportunity to work more closely with the EU under the Neighbourhood Policy. Libya’s accession to the Barcelona Process requires unanimous approval by the 25 EU Member States.
The EU is also working with Libya to tackle the problem posed by the migration from and through Libya to the EU and to Libya as destination country. An Illegal Immigration Action Plan is being prepared to upgrade management of immigration flows (border control, immigration policy, and asylum) and to improve co-operation with the countries of origin.
As a sign of the deepening relationship between the EU and Libya, she announced the accreditation of Marc Pierini as the first European Commission Head of Delegation to Libya (non-resident).
More information on EU-Libya relations at