EU to pay Additional Millions to Tunisia
A good two months after the migration pact with Tunisia, the EU Commission is once again releasing millions of euros for the North African country. The aim is to curb migration to Europe.
The EU Commission has announced that it will pay Tunisia around 127 million euros to reduce migration from the North African country. A share of around 67 million euros is to be made available in connection with a controversial migration agreement between the EU Commission and Tunisia, as a spokeswoman for the Brussels authority announced.
The plan is to finance new ships, thermal cameras, search and rescue operations, measures against smugglers and the repatriation of refugees. Among other things, the money should help to improve the situation on the Italian island of Lampedusa, it was said. The remaining 60 million euros are intended to support the economic recovery of the budget after the coronavirus pandemic.
The aim of the migration pact is “close cooperation between the EU and Tunisia and a tough crackdown on illegal smuggling networks,” the AFP news agency quoted Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero as saying. Tunisia should also stop migrants from making their way to Europe in boats – and return them to their home countries. The spokeswoman assured that “international law” would be respected.
The migration pact is controversial. Human rights groups accuse the EU of conducting a “dirty deal” with authoritarian Tunisia. Others consider the pact to be insufficient to limit the increasing number of migrants via the Mediterranean route.
Tunisia is one of the main transit countries for refugees from Africa heading to Europe. The majority of people who are currently landing in Lampedusa start in Tunisia.
The EU Commission and Tunisia signed the declaration of intent for a closer partnership on July 16th. Further aid worth millions is linked to a program run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).