Tunisia and the European Union have inked a strategic partnership agreement that involves combating people trafficking and securing borders as the number of boats leaving the North African country for Europe has increased dramatically.
The agreement comes after weeks of negotiations and Europe’s commitment of $1 billion in aid to Tunisia to repair its shattered economy, rescue public finances, and deal with a migratory crisis.
The majority of grants are conditional on economic changes.
Ursula of der Leyens, President of the European Commission, announced that the EU will provide Tunisia with 100 million euros to assist it in combating illegal migration.
The deal promotes macro-economic stability, trade and investment, green energy transition and legal immigration.
Thousands of undocumented African migrants have poured to the city of Sfax in recent months, hoping to board traffickers’ boats to Europe, creating an unparalleled migration crisis in Tunisia.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Miloni whose country has suffered a sharp increase in immigration boats, said that there would be an international conference on migration in Rome next Sunday with a number of heads of state, including Tunisian President Kais Saied.
According to official data, 75,065 boat migrants have arrived in Italy by July 14th, compared to 31,920 in the same period last year.
More over half left from Tunisia, surpassing Libya, which had previously served as the primary launchpad.
This month, President Saied stated that his country will not serve as a border guard for Europe.