Representing the EU presidency, Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi announced the activation of civil defense mechanisms to aid in the excavation of EU citizens from war-torn Libya.
There are some 5,000-6,000 European citizens known to be in the area. The mechanism is meant to provide coordination and assistance in the rescue process. Its activation was deemed necessary since air travel to Libya has become highly problematic, as most of its airports are closed or refuse to receive foreign craft. As such, naval transport is the only viable solution.
The mechanism also allows member states to recover their own rescue-related expenses from the European Solidarity Fund.
In the meantime, Interior minister Sándor Pintér called for assistance for Italy, which is concerned it may be overrun by up to 300,000 refugees fleeing the African turmoil. At the same time, an anonymous insider told BruxInfo that these fears are completely unfounded. Neither Egypt nor Tunisia has the capacity to sail over that many people to Europe. Furthermore, those fleeing don’t want to settle in Europe, they merely want to get away from the bloodshed, he said.