EU allocates 127mn to Tunisia under migrant memorandum

EU allocates 127mn to Tunisia under migrant memorandum
# 22 September 2023 16:21 (UTC +04:00)

The European Commission on Friday announced 60 million euros in budget support for Tunisia and a package of operational assistance on migration worth 67 million euros in support of the implementation of the memorandum of understanding between the EU and the north African country, APA reports citing ANSA.

This first package of assistance, which will be contracted and delivered "quickly", is based on close cooperation with Tunis in the fight against illegal trafficking networks, according to Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero.

Italy played an instrumental role in pushing through the memorandum of understanding between the EU and Tunisia on stemming migrant flows in exchange for funding, which was sealed in mid-July during a visit to Tunis by EC chief Ursula von der Leyen, Premier Giorgia Meloni and Dutch PM Mark Rutte.

However, early this week there were reports it may have been put on ice amid opposition from some in Brussels including High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the Socialist bloc amid claims that Tunisia is not a safe enough country to negotiate with.

The European Commission "is accelerating both ongoing programmes and actions under the assistance" linked to the memorandum of understanding, Pisonero explained.

"These will help us to address the current urgent situation in Lampedusa, in line also with the 10-point plan" on migration announced by Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen during her visit to the tiny Sicilian island of Lampedusa last Sunday, she added.

The EU is "committed to advancing the implementation of the memorandum by prioritising, in the field of migration cooperation, the crackdown on trafficking networks and intensifying EU assistance for capacity building of Tunisian law enforcement authorities, as well as support for voluntary returns and the reintegration of migrants into their countries of origin," Pisonero said.

The memorandum of understanding between the EU and Tunisia covers five main pillars: macro-economic stability, trade and investment, green energy transition, people-to people contacts, and migration.

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