Libya and the lessons of the 2011 intervention for the EU

In collaboration with the Amsterdam Center for European Studies

05jun2020 17.00 - 18.30


The 2011 intervention in Libya marked a breaking point in the use of the principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’ and its effects have shaped subsequent interventions as well as the EU’s broader relations with the region.

The 2011 crisis in Libya represented the first case in which the international community invoked the principle of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in order to justify taking coercive measures. Drawing on a wide variety of sources including in-depth interviews with politicians and diplomats, Karin Wester provides a unique analysis of the evolving Libyan crisis and the international community’s response. She identifies essential lessons to be learned about the concept, application, and implications of the responsibility to protect – and demonstrates that Libya’s descent into chaos after the intervention was not predestined, but rather the result of decisions taken and conditions prevailing in the subsequent years. The author presents the main findings of her study Intervention in Libya. The Responsibility to Protect in North Africa, followed by a discussion on the responsibility to protect and on the impact of the intervention on the EU’s relationship with Libya.

About the speakers

Karin Wester has been working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands for over twenty years in a variety of positions, focusing on multilateral cooperation, human rights, peace and security, and the Middle East. She is currently the Strategic Policy Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa of the Ministry.

Tarek Megerisi is a Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is a leading expert on Libyan affairs and more generally politics, governance and development in the Arab world and relations with the EU.

Gerard Steeghs is the Director of the Department for Multilateral Organizations and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He previously served as Ambassador of the Netherlands to Libya (2010-2012), Ambassador to Egypt (2012 -2016), and as Special Envoy to Syria (2016-2019).

Luiza Bialasiewicz (moderator) is Professor of European Governance at the University of Amsterdam and academic co-director of ACES. Her research has examined the out-sourcing of EU migration controls to Libya as well as the broader geopolitics of migration in the Mediterranean.

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Gepubliceerd door  Spui25