selex reported yesterday that Libya has signed a 300 million euro ($441.3 million) contract with Italy’s Finmeccanica for a border control and security system.

According to the report, the deal between Finmeccanica unit Selex Sistemi Integrati and the Libyan General People’s Committee for General Security, is split into tranches, with the first 150 million euro tranche of work already under way.

“Selex Sistemi Integrati, in line with its mission of prime responsibility for the architecture of large systems within Finmeccanica, will design, install and integrate all the subsystems of the program,” the firm said in a statement.

“In addition, the company will provide all the typical functionalities of a [command, control and communication] system, such as command decision support tools, information processing, integration of data gathered by different sensors – provided by Selex Sistemi Integrati itself – and emergency management,” according to the statement. “Selex Sistemi Integrati will also be responsible for the training of operators and maintenance staff as well as the completion of all the civil infrastructures required.”

A triumph for EU policy

The links between this deal and EU policy are abundantly clear. Colonel Gaddafi was welcomed back into the ‘international community’ in 2003 in return for agreeing to Libya’s cooperation in Europe’s ‘migration management’ programme (the arms embargo was lifted a week later), while Finmeccanica has been one of the key players in the development and implementation of the European Security Research Programme.

Finmeccanica is rapporteur for the EU working group on border controls in the European Security Research and Innovation Forum, and Finemeccanica/Selex ‘research’ in this area has been supported by numerous EU contracts (see for example SOCBAH, OPREMAR, MARISS and BSUAV (among others) – all of which are detailed in the NeoConOpticon report – see pp. 33-41. The report also details the kinds of integrated border controls that are envisaged for clients like Libya).

Migrants and would-be refugees bound for Europe already suffer appalling conditions at the hands of the Libyan authorities. See for example “Pushed Back, Pushed Around: Italy’s Forced Return of Boat Migrants and Asylum Seekers, Libya’s Mistreatment of Migrants and Asylum Seekers,” a Human Rights Watch report examining the treatment of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Libya through the eyes of those who have managed to leave and are now in Italy and Malta.