18. The European Council discussed the situation in Libya and endorsed the conclusions adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 March. Recalling its March 11 Declaration, the European Council expressed its satisfaction after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which expresses the principle of the responsibility to protect, and underlined its determination to contribute to its implementation. It also welcomed the Paris Summit of 19 March as a decisive contribution to its implementation. It condemned the continued defiance by the Libyan regime of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, and the violent and brutal repression the regime continues to inflict upon its own citizens. It noted that the actions taken in conformity with the mandate from the Security Council significantly contributed to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack and helped to save lives of civilians. When the civilian populations are safe and secure from the threat of attack and the objectives of UNSCR 1973 are met, military operations will come to an end.

The European Council emphasized the key role of Arab countries, and particularly the Arab League, in actively supporting the implementation of UNSCR 1973, and in finding a political solution to the crisis.

19. In line with UNSCR 1973, the European Union, together with the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the African Union, will intensify its efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people. The European Council reiterated its call on Colonel Kadhafi to relinquish power immediately in order to allow Libya to rapidly embark on an orderly and Libyan-led transition to democracy through a broad-based dialogue, taking also in consideration the need to ensure Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU stands ready to help foster this dialogue, including with the National Transition Council, and assist a new Libya economically and in the building of its new Institutions, in cooperation with the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and others.

20. The European Union has reacted swiftly to implement the sanctions imposed by UNSC resolutions 1970 and 1973, including the designation of additional persons and entities in the EU autonomous list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures. The European Union stands ready to initiate and adopt further sanctions, including measures to ensure that oil and gas revenues do not reach the Khadafi regime. Member States will take similar proposals to the UNSC.

21. The humanitarian situation in Libya and on its borders remains a source of serious concern. The EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected, in close co-operation with all the humanitarian agencies and NGOs involved. The EU has stepped up and will continue its planning on support for humanitarian assistance / civil protection operations, including by maritime means.

22. The European Council noted with satisfaction the smooth conduct of the referendum on constitutional amendments held in Egypt on 19 March as a significant step towards a more open and democratic political system.

23. Noting that the situation in each country is different, the European Council expressed its utmost concern at the situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrein, strongly condemned the escalation of violence and the use of force against demonstrators, and urged all parties concerned to engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue without delay or preconditions. It endorsed the conclusions adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 March.

24. Work should be rapidly taken forward to develop a new partnership with the region, in line with the European Council’s declaration of 11 March 2011. This partnership will be founded on deeper economic integration, broader market access and closer political cooperation, and will follow a differentiated and performance-based approach. As first steps in the implementation of the 11 March package, and on the basis of the joint Commission/High Representative communication, the European Council calls for rapid progress to be made along the following lines:

  the EU and its Member States will step up their humanitarian assistance;
  ongoing aid programmes in the Southern Mediterranean countries will be screened and refocused, where possible in dialogue with the countries concerned;
  the ceiling for EIB operations for Mediterranean countries undertaking political reform should be increased by EUR 1 billion, without reducing operations in the EU’s Eastern neighbours;
  EBRD shareholders should consider the possible extension of the Bank’s activities to countries in the Southern neighbourhood;
  the proposals on pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin should be adopted without delay and the Commission is invited to present proposals on further means to enhance trade and foreign direct investment in the region in the short, medium and long term.

25. The European Council welcomes the recent visit of Presidency and the Commission to Egypt as part of a first phase of consultations to promote a comprehensive approach to migration as between the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood region and the European Union. In this context the European Council invites the Commission to present its proposals on the Global Approach to Migration as well as on the Mobility Partnership well in advance of the June European Council.

26. The European Council also looks forward to the presentation by the Commission of a Plan for the development of capacities to manage migration and refugee flows in advance of the June European Council. Agreement should be reached by June 2011 on the regulation enhancing the capabilities of Frontex. In the meantime the Commission will make additional resources available in support to the agency’s 2011 Hermes and Poseidon operations and Member States are invited to provide further human and technical resources. The EU and its Member States stand ready to demonstrate their concrete solidarity to Member States most directly concerned by migratory movements and provide the necessary support as the situation evolves.