EU moves to block selling dinghies to Libya to curb illegal immigration

Since the beginning of 2017, some 20,000 migrants have been rescued by Italy’s coastguard [Photo: Reuters]
EU foreign ministers have agreed to restrict exports of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya in a drive to curb the smuggling of migrants.

The restrictions will not apply to legitimate Libyan businesses, such as fishing crews, an EU statement said.

It is not clear how the EU will check that such exports do not end up in the wrong hands in the lawless country.

Meanwhile Luxembourg has warned that EU funds may be helping to drive migrants into Libyan “concentration camps”.

Many migrants exploited by people-smuggling gangs in Libya have suffered brutality, including sexual abuse. The country is plagued by violence and lawlessness.

More than 88,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy so far this year, and more than a quarter of them arrived in June alone.

The numbers are higher than in the first half of last year.

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