Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU-Libya Framework Agreement

Delivered in Plenary - 19th January 2011

Mr President

Libya is a country where human rights are routinely abused and democracy is non-existent. Colonel Gaddafi has never stood for election since coming to power 41 years ago. Indeed political parties are banned.

Gaddafi is the Fidel Castro of Africa. He tries to portray himself as a benevolent father of his own people, even claiming that he has no formal role in the state hierarchy. We in my country, the UK, know him differently as a previous sponsor of terrorism, in particular the Lockerbie bombing of 1988.

To polish up his international image he has, to his credit I suppose, compensated grieving families, but in truth the maverick Gadaffi would be totally ostracised by the West were it not for Libya’s prodigious reserves of oil and gas. This gives Gadaffi leverage over the EU and in particular he has sought to divide the Council by courting the leadership of certain Member States.

Nevertheless, on pragmatic grounds I accept the need for cordial trading and diplomatic relations between the EU and Libya under a framework agreement. But I do fear that all we are really doing is consolidating Gaddafi’s power, which in due course inevitably will pass to one of his sons in a dynastic succession akin to that of North Korea.