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$135m in Europe aid to support Tunisia, combat migration

September 23, 2023 at 9:36 am

European Union flags are seen waving outside the EU Commission Building in Brussels, Belgium. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

The European Commission announced the allocation of €127 million ($135 million) in aid to Tunisia that falls within the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Tunisia and the European Union (EU), part of which is to reduce the influx of irregular migrants.

This came according to European Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero’s announcement during the daily press conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Pisonero explained that the aid is divided into €60 million allocated to support the country’s budget and €67 million earmarked to support the country’s efforts in combating irregular migration, which will be disbursed in the coming days.

According to official figures, the Tunisian state budget, estimated at 69.6 billion dinars ($22.7 billion) during 2023, recorded a deficit of 7.5 billion dinars, equivalent to $2.5 billion.

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The European official added: “This first package comes based on the close cooperation between the European Union and Tunisia regarding the suppression of illegal smuggling networks, and the Commission is also working to accelerate each of the programs stipulated in the memorandum of understanding.”

On 16 July, Tunisia announced the signing of a MoU with the EU based on a “strategic and comprehensive partnership” between the two sides in several areas, including promoting trade and combating irregular migration, worth more than €750 million.

The MoU between the EU and Tunisia aims to limit the arrival of migrants to the Italian coast and provides assistance amounting to hundreds of millions of euros to support Tunisia, which is facing severe economic difficulties.

Recently, Tunisia has witnessed a significant increase in the rates of irregular migration to Europe, especially towards the coast of Italy, due to economic and political crises in many African countries.

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