"The coming months and years will test the resourcefulness and determination of the Libyan people. I have no doubt that they will rise to this challenge and that they will unite to ensure that Libya takes its place in the international community as a prosperous, stable and democratic state," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said today (22 August).
Her comments came just hours after Rebel National Transitional Council Coordinator Adel Dabbechi confirmed that Gaddafi's younger son Saif Al-Islam had been captured.
The International Criminal Court in the Hague, which wants to try Saif along with his father on charges of crimes against humanity, confirmed he was being held and urged his captors to hand him over for trial.
Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi had surrendered to rebel forces, Dabbechi told Reuters.
In a television interview, the younger Gaddafi said gunmen had surrounded his house, but he later told al-Jazeera in a phone call that he and his family were unharmed.
Delivering on promises
The EU will now have to deliver on its promises to assist a new Libya economically, as well as to help build new institutions in cooperation with the Arab League, the African Union and the UN.
It pledged to do so during the Paris Summit in Support of the Libyan people on 19 March.
On that occasion, permanent EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said that "we have to help history, but first and foremost we have to support the Libyan people".
With the intention of facilitating political transition and helping to avert a humanitarian crisis, the EU opened an office in rebel capital Benghazi at the end of May.
At a summit of EU leaders in March, the bloc's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, and the European Commission suggested setting up a Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity for the Southern Mediterranean.
The partnership is intended to deepen economic integration and widen market access and political cooperation.
It remains to be seen whether the EU as a whole will react more promptly than individual member states.
At the onset of the Libyan uprising, the EU's first collective reaction came during a meeting of its 27 foreign ministers on 21 February, four days after 17 February's 'Day of Rage' in Tripoli.
Their communiqué restricted itself to demanding an "immediate end to violence". Within days EU member states had started quarrelling amongst themselves: Italy, Malta and Cyprus held out for a week against French, German and Dutch demands to impose sanctions on the Gaddafi family.
While EU leaders were tabling proposals for action, Ashton was among the last to call for sanctions, make contact with the Benghazi-based Transitional National Committee and support military action.
She failed to back the campaign until March, when it was authorised by the UN Security Council and at which point she "welcomed" it.
Ashton's resistance to the imposition of a no-fly zone led to a public row with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a European Council meeting on 11 March. Germany's decision to abstain from voting on the UN Resolution, which gave the green light to military action, dealt a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel in key regional elections.
The next EU Foreign Affairs Council is scheduled for 10 October.