Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Illegal migration brings EU support to Tunisia's doorstep

Saturday 09/September/2023 - 09:01 PM
The Reference
Sara Rashad

Negotiations between Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come to a screeching halt, after Tunisian President, Kais Saeed, rejected the terms of the international lender, including required subsidy cuts.

However, this leaves Tunisia with a gruelling economic crisis, one it has been suffering since the beginning of this year.

This comes amid reports about imminent bankruptcy in the North African state.

The crisis is now manifested in the failure of the Tunisian government to pay the salaries of civil servants.

This crisis coincides with the backlash Tunisia faces from the growing problem of illegal migration.

The northern city of Sfax has evolved into one of the most important starting points for illegal migration towards Italy.

This prompted EU countries to move to support Tunisia economically.

These countries want to support Tunisia in the face of illegal migration by supporting its economy and preventing its economic downfall.

According to the UNHCR, since the beginning of this year, about 90,000 migrants have arrived in Italy from Tunisia.

It said the majority of the migrants sailed from Tunisia, while the rest arrived from Libya.

Invest in Tunisia

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, urged EU states on Thursday to invest in Tunisia to support the Arab country's stability and stop the flow of illegal migrants from it.

He added at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Toledo, Spain, that the EU ought to work for the stability of Tunisia by investing in the country, and implementing the memorandum of understanding to stop illegal migration.

"The Tunisian police are working well at the moment, but we are ready to do more," the Italian top diplomat said.

"We have proposed to provide Tunisian authorities with new Italian patrol boats to stop the crimes," he added.

He noted that it is the same human trafficking organizations that transport drugs and weapons to Europe, in general, and his country, in particular.

He called for implementing the agreement between the EU and Tunisia.

The Italian foreign minister also called on the IMF to get more flexible to achieve economic stability in the country.

Tunisian economist, Wafa Ben Mohamed, said latest gestures by EU officials had opened the door for economic improvements in Tunisia.

She referred to the role of regional countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, in providing soft loans to Tunisia.

"These loans have contributed to averting any economic collapse," she was quoted by some media outlets as saying.