Tunisia on Tuesday rejected "disproportionate" remarks by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, who had worried the day before about the situation in the country, fearing its "
This reaction comes as an EU delegation is expected in Tunisia on Tuesday to assess the situation in the country, in the grip of a serious socio-economic crisis and where the opposition denounces a decline in rights and freedoms since President Kais Saied assumed full powers in July 2021. “
The comments made are disproportionate both in view of the well-established resilience of the Tunisian people throughout their history, and in relation to a migratory threat to Europe coming from the south
“, reacted the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.
These selective remarks continue to ignore any responsibility (of the EU) in the situation which prevailed in Tunisia and elsewhere, in particular since 2011 and until July 25, 2021
”, i.e. the period from the revolution which overthrew the dictatorship until the coup by President Kais Saied.
Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Borrell warned on Tuesday that the situation in Tunisia was "
", even mentioning a risk of a "
" of the State likely to "
cause migratory flows to the EU and cause instability in the MENA region
" (Middle East and North Africa).
Tunisia, some portions of the coastline of which are less than 150 km from the Italian island of Lampedusa, very regularly records attempts by migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries, to leave for Italy.
According to official Italian figures, more than 32,000 migrants arrived in Italy illegally from Tunisia in 2022. Mr. Saied had caused an outcry in February by denouncing the presence in Tunisia of "hordes" of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan
and a "
" aimed, according to him, at changing the demography of his country.
In addition, the authorities have since February arrested several opposition figures, ex-ministers, businessmen and the director of Tunisia's most popular private radio station.
These arrests took place while Tunisia, in the grip of a serious financial crisis, has been negotiating for several months with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of nearly two billion dollars "The European Union cannot help a country
incapable to sign an agreement with the International Monetary Fund
,” Borrell said.
President Kais Saied must sign with the IMF and implement the agreement, otherwise the situation will be very serious for Tunisia
The representation of the EU in Tunis indicated in the morning that a European delegation, whose dispatch had been announced Monday by Mr. Borrell on Monday, was expected in Tunisia as of Tuesday.
According to Mr. Borrell, this mission must carry out “
an assessment of the situation to enable the EU to orient its measures
Led by Gert Jan Koopman, Director General for the Neighbourhood, Johannes Luchner, Deputy Director General for Migration and Luigi Soreca, Special Envoy for the External Aspects of Migration, this delegation is due to meet several ministers during its stay, according to the EU.
Discussions should focus, among other things, on the political and socio-economic situation in Tunisia and on how the EU can continue to best support the Tunisian population in the current context," according to a press release from the delegation
. EU in Tunis.
The visit will also be an opportunity to discuss cooperation between the EU and Tunisia in the area of migration and to identify concrete avenues of engagement
,” added the text.