Tunisia and the European Union have reached an agreement to stop illegal immigration

Tunisia and the European Union signed a “strategic partnership” agreement on Sunday. In return for financial assistance, the Tunisian government will take steps to stop illegal border crossings across the Mediterranean.

Mark Rutte, a spokesman for the outgoing Dutch prime minister, announced the deal on Sunday afternoon. The Head of the Government of the Netherlands visited Tunisia with the President of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni.

The deal follows weeks of talks that saw the EU pledge €1 billion in funding to Tunisia.

The agreement signed between Tunisia and the European Union includes “disrupting the business model of smugglers and smugglers, strengthening border controls and improving registration and return (returnees from Europe – version),” he wrote on Twitter the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

The Path to Agreement

The agreement is a direct result of previous negotiations between European politicians and officials in Tunis. A month ago, after a meeting with Tunisian President Qais Sai, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the immediate start of financial aid to combat people-trafficking and support the Tunisian economy.

At that time, EUR 900 million was pledged for economic reforms, including EUR 150 million for changes requested by the International Monetary Fund. “Tunisia needs financial assistance because its economy is in a bad state,” reminded the Belgian daily “Het Laatste Nieuws” on Sunday.

No agreement was reached at the time, however, and the European Commission’s press service released a statement to the media indicating that “the EU and Tunisia have agreed to work together on a comprehensive partnership package.”

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Gateway to Europe

For years, Tunisia has been an important starting point for migrants trying to enter the EU illegally. In recent months, people smugglers have increasingly used the so-called country’s islands, which are 70 km off the Tunisian coast, making the Tunisian route more painful for Italy.

Main photo source: Twitter/Mark Rutte

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