Tunisia: Tunisia receives financial support from France to curb the flow of migrants
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
On Monday, France announced that Tunisia will receive nearly 26 million euros, or approximately $28 million, in aid to stop the flow of illegal migrants across the Mediterranean.
French Inside Clergyman Gerald Darmanin reported the “reciprocal guide of 25.8 million devoted to movement issues” during a visit to Tunis.
He stated at a news conference following a meeting with his Tunisian and German counterparts that it would enable Tunisia to “acquire the necessary equipment and organize useful training, in particular for Tunisian police and border guards.”
Tunisian President Kais Saied stated in a meeting with Darmanin and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser that Tunisia would not “guard borders other than its own.”
Additionally, he stated, “We will not accept that Tunisia becomes a country of resettlement” for migrants.
In March, Saied sparked a backlash by describing migrants as a demographic threat to his nation, which led to an increase in attacks on sub-Saharan Africans there.
He stated on Monday, “I am sure that we will find adequate solutions with a common will, a new way of seeing things.”
Migrants and asylum seekers making the perilous journey to Europe use Tunisia, which is heavily indebted and in talks for a bailout loan from the IMF.
Darmanin said that African authorities would partner with the “European approach to the migration challenge” to “fight against the networks of smugglers” and support the return of migrants to their home countries.
Darmanin stated, “too many people take reckless risks, often exploited by smugglers who are the real criminals we must fight,” in reference to the Wednesday sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Greece, which resulted in the deaths of at least 78 people.
In the meantime, the German interior minister stated that “putting an end to these terrible deaths at sea” is essential.
According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,406 migrants died or vanished in the Mediterranean in 2022, and 1,166 have died or vanished since the beginning of 2023.
Faeser also insisted that the police and border guards in Tunisia must “respect human rights” in their work.
A week earlier, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen offered Tunisia 105 million euros for border management and human trafficking prevention.
The approval of the nearly $2 billion IMF loan, which has been under negotiation since last year, is necessary for the EU funding, which is part of a larger package of financial aid intended to boost the Tunisian economy.
However, Saied has repeatedly rejected the lender’s “diktats,” as he puts it.