The European Union has approved an agreement with Tunisia for €1 billion (about £860 million) to assist in reducing migratory irregularities. This comes at the same time as the president of the north African nation condemned people who offer migrants “sympathy without respect” for their desire to have equity in life.
The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, praised the agreement with Tunisia as an investment in shared prosperity and stability. The agreement includes important measures to prevent fatal irregular migration across the Mediterranean, and it was hailed by von der Leyen.
The migratory agreement with Tunisia comes just days after the president of that nation, Kais Saied, exposed the “shocking” amount of people smuggling in his country, with officials revealing that it was worth approximately £760 million in the first half of 2023 in remittances from sub-Saharan Africa.
Saied accused humanitarian organizations of propagating false facts about Tunisia rather than focusing their efforts on the criminal gangs that are behind the deadly enterprise as he was unveiling the arrangement in Tunisia on Sunday evening. He was accompanied by Von der Leyen and the prime ministers of Italy and the Netherlands. Von der Leyen was also present. Saied was speaking alongside Saied.
He stated that people from all around the world have a common need for respect rather than pity, along with the need for peaceful cohabitation and effective equity in their futures.
In the past several months, thousands of undocumented migrants have travelled to the coastal city of Sfax with the intention of boarding boats captained by human traffickers and making their way to Europe. This has resulted in a migration crisis that has never been seen before in Tunisia.
According to reports that surfaced on Sunday in the media, border patrol agents from Libya have rescued scores of individuals from the desert after they claim the Tunisian government abandoned them there without providing them with water, food, or shelter.
As a result of the racial rioting that occurred in Sfax, Tunisia’s second-largest city, at the beginning of July, hundreds of people from different nations in sub-Saharan Africa were forcibly transferred to the desert and unfriendly territories that border Libya and Algeria.
The migrants were visibly weary and dehydrated, sitting or reclining on the sand and using plants to try to cover themselves from the blistering July heat that reached temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
A group of at least 80 people was discovered in an uninhabited area adjacent to the town of Assah, which is located close to the border between Tunisia and Libya. This location is approximately 153 kilometres (93 miles) west of Tripoli.
The outgoing Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, stated that the agreement would attempt to prevent individuals from making the hazardous and frequently lethal trek over the seas to Italy and would upset the business model of smugglers.
In spite of the ongoing debate regarding the human rights record of the North African nation, the three leaders of the EU travelled to Tunisia on Sunday to sign a memorandum of understanding on a one billion euro package that was agreed upon in June.
Details included an agreement to resume talks on an association agreement between EU & Tunisia and to provide Tunisian students access to the Erasmus exchange program. Details also included an agreement to give Tunisian students access to the Erasmus exchange program.
According to Rutte, the €1 billion package included a considerable component of boosting efforts to combat criminal organizations involved in trafficking and people smuggling.
Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy’s far-right League of the Right, praised the agreement with Tunisia as a model for new relations with countries in North Africa. She added that she made this statement with “a level of pride but a level of gratitude.”
An official from the Tunisian national security council stated in a meeting on Friday that undocumented people from sub-Saharan Africa living in Tunisia received remittances from their home countries totalling 3 billion dinars, which is approximately 750 million pounds, during the first half of 2023.
This number is significantly more than the amount of money that Tunisia’s essential tourist industry brought in during the first six months of the year, which was 2.2 billion dinars.
On Friday, during a meeting of Tunisia’s National Security Council held at the Carthage Palace, Saied stated: “This figure is shocking and indicates that Tunisia is being targeted.”