Agreement Italy Libya


Cooperation with Libya on migration and border control is not a new political decision for Italy: in the 2000s, many agreements were concluded with the former Gaddafi regime, focusing on controlling migration flows and strengthening readmission. However, this partnership was suspended in 2012 due to the collapse of the Libyan government following the outbreak of the civil war and the ruling of the ECHR Hirsi Jamaa, which condemned Italy for violating the principle of non-refoulement and prohibition of collective expulsions. In this general trend, the atypical agreements related to readmission between Italy and Libya are revealing. As this is a pioneering and relatively advanced example of cooperation in the European context, the question of whether it is based on unequal reciprocity seems particularly relevant. That is why I would like to answer in this chapter the question of whether the Italian-Libyan readmission agreements can be treated as an example of the relationship between inequalities. In other words, does the selected case study reflect what Keohane calls “reciprocity in unequal obligations”? On the face of it, it could be said that the memorandum follows the lines of the EU-Turkey agreement and that it is a kind of agreement to outsource the control of migration to a country that is a decisive `gateway` to Europe. However, it is worth noting how he embodies, from many angles, a poor replication of his predecessor. By agreeing to such agreements, Libya has strengthened its international reputation. Their willingness to cooperate with the Italian government on migration has been co-responsible for Libya`s reintegration into the international community. After decades of political insularity, such bilateral cooperation has allowed Libya to be at the forefront of the fight against irregular migration and international terrorism. To rephrase Lipson, italy`s compliance gave Libya a “reputational gain.” [77] Bilateral cooperation with Italy has enabled Libya to “cooperate in the fight against human trafficking” and to strengthen Libya`s reputation as a responsible state.

[78] It is not surprising that the beginning of repatriation coincided with the lifting of the European embargo on Libya and the inauguration of a gas pipeline to Italy (see Paolo Cuttitta`s chapter). Italy`s decisive contribution to the normalization of Libya`s relations with the EU was probably rewarded by Libya`s concession to the return of migrants who had just arrived in Sicily. Matteo Villa, a migration researcher at ISPI, stresses that the agreement is not legally binding and that it merely implements some existing strategies, such as cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, which began in 2016, and an informal pact with armed groups to prevent departures. Therefore, using Keohane`s terminology, as defined at the beginning of this chapter, it appears that the agreements on readmission and the broader migration negotiations with Italy had a limited obligation from the Libyan point of view.