Recent economic figures continue to show strong economic growth in the 4m strong European Union Migration Transition Zone, nicknamed “RefugeeLand” in Libya. The city and its surrounds, founded in 2017 by the EU in response to the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis continues to be run and funded jointly by the United Nations and the European Union.
The current governor of the city, former Irish premier Willow Kiely, has confirmed that whilst the EU is willing to look at devolving more power to the city’s elected assembly, it was not willing to grant the city independence.
“The truth is, Europe still needs the Zone, and that means we need to control it, and both access and egress from it. Despite the fact that business continues to grow, and unemployment is very low, this city only started generating more revenue than expenditure in the last ten years. Having said that, that’s more than can be said for most EU member states.”
The city, despite a difficult beginning and still with its fair share of attacks from various religious extremist groups, has turned out to be a fascinating spectacle for the world, its huge open air markets now a major tourist draw for cruise ships.
Commissioner Kiely points out: “This is one of the few places on Earth where Christians and Muslims are pretty much equal in numbers. Everybody has to get along. By force if necessary.”
The EU maintains a large number of combat drones, both air and ground mobile, to respond quickly to terrorist incidents. But Kiely has been quick to point out that local city militia, raised by prominent leaders in both communities, often deal with extremists faster than the drones can.
“This city is the only access point for refugees into Europe. You have to be processed here, and indeed many people here have family members who live legally or commute to the EU having been processed here. As a result, both communities have a vested interest in maintaining order here. A good clean record serving with the militia, for example, earns points towards a residency visa for the EU. “
The commissioner also pointed out that both communities take turns providing a small militia force to protect the city’s one synagogue.
“There’s a real pride about that here. People value what they have, want to protect it.”