The European Union and Tunisia have entered into a “strategic partnership” agreement aimed at tackling the surge in boats departing from Tunisia to Europe and improving border controls.
After weeks of negotiations, the agreement includes a commitment from Europe to provide substantial aid amounting to $1.12 billion to support Tunisia’s struggling economy, restore state finances, and address the migratory situation. The majority of the funds are contingent on economic changes.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte highlighted the focus of the agreement on border control and better documentation, emphasizing measures to disrupt the operations of people smugglers and human traffickers, strengthen border control, and enhance registration and return processes to combat irregular migration.
Ursula von der Leyens, the European Commission chief, announced that the union will allocate 100 million euros to assist Tunisia in its fight against illegal immigration.
The agreement also encourages macroeconomic stability, commerce, investment, the transition to renewable energy, and lawful immigration.
Tunisia has been facing a record-breaking migration crisis, with thousands of illegal African migrants congregating in the city of Sfax in recent months, seeking to board traffickers’ boats bound for Europe.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Miloni welcomed the agreement as a crucial step towards establishing a true partnership between Tunisia and the EU to address the migration crisis holistically.
To further address the situation, an international migration summit is scheduled to take place in Rome, with the participation of various heads of state, including Tunisian President Kais Saied.
Official figures reveal a significant increase in boat migrants arriving in Italy, with 75,065 individuals recorded by July 14 compared to 31,920 during the same period last year. More than half of these migrants originated from Tunisia, previously a major departure point.
READ OTHER STORIES: