The migration pact with Tunisia is highly controversial. Nevertheless, the EU is digging deep into its wallet for this – and it is only the first payment to the North African country.
As part of the migration pact with Tunisia, the European Union is paying out 127 million euros to the country. This first financial aid will be launched in the coming days, said an EU Commission spokeswoman in Brussels on Friday.
A good half of the money – 67 million euros – is earmarked for the fight against smugglers. The remaining 60 million euros are intended to strengthen the economically struggling North African country.
“Tough crackdown on illegal smuggling networks”
The aim of the migration pact is “close cooperation between the EU and Tunisia and a tough crackdown on illegal smuggling networks,” confirmed Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero. Tunisia should also stop migrants from getting on boats to Europe and should return them to their home countries. The spokeswoman assured that “international law” would be respected.
The EU Commission and Tunisia signed the declaration of intent for a closer partnership on July 16th. Among other things, the EU has promised Tunisia a total of 105 million euros for border protection. Further aid worth millions is linked to a program run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The migration pact is controversial. Human rights groups accuse the EU of conducting a “dirty deal” with authoritarian Tunisia. Others consider the pact to be insufficient to limit the increasing number of migrants via the Mediterranean route.