Friday , June 14 2024

Tunisia and EU Finalise Deal on Migration

A “strategic and comprehensive partnership” between the European Union, EU, and Tunisia has been established through the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

The partnership is intended to combat irregular migration and strengthen economic ties between the EU and the North African nation, which is a major transit point for people seeking asylum in Europe.

As the number of migrants and refugees leaving Tunisia in recent months has significantly increased, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni held new discussions with Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday.

Von Leyen praised the agreement as an investment in “shared prosperity and stability” while speaking at the Tunisian presidential palace.

“Tunisia and the European Union are bound by our shared history and geography, and we share strategic interests,” she said.

A collective agreement is absolutely necessary, according to Saied, to address what he called “inhuman migration,” which he attributed to organised crime.

“This memorandum should be coupled at the earliest time by a set of binding agreements emanating from its principles,” he said.

Rutte said the agreement would help combat human traffickers.

“It contains agreements on disrupting the business model of people smugglers and human traffickers, strengthening border control and improving registration and return. All essential measures for bolstering efforts to stop irregular migration,” Rutte said on Twitter.

Meloni welcomed “a new and important step to deal with the migration crisis”, and invited Tunisia’s Saied to an international conference on migration on July 23.

EU said at the time that it was considering supporting Tunisia with an aid package of up to 900 million euros ($1,010m) as the country is roiled by economic woes and rising numbers of migrants and refugees travelling through it as they seek to reach Europe.

Specific aid that von der Leyen announced on Sunday included a 10-million euro ($11 million) programme to boost exchanges of students and 65 million euros ($73 million) in EU funding to modernise Tunisian schools.

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