eu tunisia deal can’t stop migrants from entering into europe
Last updated on September 20th, 2023 at 05:59 am
The European Union is feeling the heat for its migration pact with Tunisia to reduce the number of migrants entering Europe by crossing the central Mediterranean. Critics highlight Tunisia’s authoritarian President Kais Saied and the country’s atrocities against sub-Saharan migrants.
But the European Commission is all praises about the MoU with the North African country. Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner, said there have been about 24,000 interceptions made by the coast guard of Tunisia, compared to 93,000 in 2022. He believes almost 50,000 people have been saved through the EU-Tunisia cooperation over the past nine months.
The EU is Helping Tunisia
The Commissioner said the EU has provided immediate support, like water and hygiene kits to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the country. To keep this going, the European Commission has funded the Tunisia border controls with €105 million, equipped them with a coastal surveillance system, and patrol vessels. Varhelyi said their intention is to save lives at sea and break the backs of smugglers and human traffickers.
However, critics are not convinced. Tunisia is known for racial hostility and widespread discrimination. And racism is deeply rooted in the country. They say the EU is using the situation in Tunisia to its advantage, to advance externalization of migration management similar to what the UK tried to achieve with Rwanda to stem the influx of migrants.
Tunisia is too Hostile
A few months ago, Tunisian security forces expelled hundreds of Black African asylum seekers and left them stranded in the middle of nowhere in desert border regions with Libya and Algeria. Scores of asylum seekers were found dead because of the extreme heat and starvation.
Despite incidents like this, Ursula von der Leyen happily signed the deal and shook hands with the Italian and Dutch prime ministers and posed for a photograph with Tunisian President Saied. It clearly shows that the European countries are trying to push off the migrant crisis to the neighboring north African region, and coaxing them with millions of euros, equipment and loans.
This will not resolve the migrant crisis. Desperate migrants, over the years, have defied borders and government deals for greener lands.