Libya gets EU funds to combat illegal migration

[] The European Union offered Libya €20 million Tuesday to help cope with
growing illegal migration, the EU external relations commissioner said.

Border patrols and coastal radar have made it harder for illegal
migrants to enter Spain from Morocco and tens of thousands are trying
to reach Europe farther east. The number arriving in Italy by boat rose by 75 percent last year to
36,900, according to the Italian Interior Ministry. Italy agreed with
Libya this month to carry out joint maritime patrols and improve
deportation procedures.

"The flocks of migrants reaching Libya and the European Union are of
course a cause of common concern," the EU external relations
commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in Tripoli after meeting
with Libyan officials.

"In that spirit I have offered today to the Libyan government a
support package, a financial package of €20 million on strengthening
border control."
She said additional funds might be available from 2011.

Brussels has been trying to turn a new page in relations with Libya
after the north African country gave up banned weapons programs in 2003.

The EU pledged in July to renew ties with Libya after Tripoli freed
Bulgarian medical workers accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan
children with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Ferrero-Waldner said the EU had given Libya €11.5 million to
modernize the Benghazi hospital where the infections broke out in the
1990s and treat the infected children.

She said she was now aiming for a free trade deal and framework
agreement for cooperation in areas ranging from foreign policy to
security, fisheries, migration, energy, transport and visas.

"I hope this agreement will be negotiated, except for the free trade
part, by the end of the year if both sides work very hard," she said.

Report criticizes Russia

Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday that migrant workers in
Russia were routinely denied wages, threatened with violence and abused
by the police, and that the economic crisis was likely to make their
lives worse, Reuters reported from Moscow.

Millions of migrants from ex-Soviet republics have flocked to work
in Russia but the government has failed to protect them from predatory
employers and corrupt officials, the rights group said.

The report focused on workers in the construction sector, which it
said employed 40 percent of the migrants thought to be working in
Russia – up to nine million, the largest number of migrant workers
outside the United States.

"Without urgent action by the Russian government, migrant
construction workers will be doubly vulnerable to abuse, both by
employers and by others looking to scapegoat migrants for the country’s
economic problems," the author of the report, Jane Buchanan, said in
a statement.