The agreement between the European Commission and Tunisia makes EU countries uncomfortable

The controversial agreement signed between Tunisia and the European Union —through the president of the community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen; the Italian Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, and her Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte—with a clear objective of stopping migration, has not been liked by the capitals.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 September 2023 Sunday 22:24
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The agreement between the European Commission and Tunisia makes EU countries uncomfortable

The controversial agreement signed between Tunisia and the European Union —through the president of the community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen; the Italian Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, and her Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte—with a clear objective of stopping migration, has not been liked by the capitals. This was made known in a letter by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, sent to the Commissioner for Enlargement, Olivér Varhélyi, in which he pointed out that there is “incomprehension” about the pact between the governments.

In the letter, Borrell emphasizes that appropriate procedures were not followed, as published in media such as The Guardian. Diplomatic sources admit to La Vanguardia that several countries during the meetings after the signing of the agreement in July, as well as at the meeting of Foreign Ministers, showed their concern because the usual legal procedures had not been followed and asked that it not be repeated. occur in the future, even more so when the agreement is intended to serve as a basis for closing similar pacts with other countries in the region, such as Egypt.

According to the rules, the European Commission must first consult the Member States and although the governments have supported the issue of addressing “strategic pacts” with third countries, they have shown their disagreement for not knowing all the details in advance and considered that they should to have been more involved in the signing of the pact.

Likewise, other countries such as Belgium and Germany have also expressed their doubts not only because they were not consulted enough, but also because of respect for Human Rights, which has been highly questioned by the authoritarian drift of the Kais Saied government.

However, the European Commission has rejected the criticism and assures that the institution consulted and always involved the countries before signing the pact. A spokeswoman added that “throughout the process” the Council was informed and the first contact took place on April 19 and conversations continued until the agreement was closed.

The pact reached with Tunisia is divided into five pillars very focused on the economy, ecological transition and migration management. With the commitment of 150 million euros to offer immediate liquidity; also more than 300 million for renewable energy projects; and, finally, 105 million euros for border management, with the sending of equipment, such as drones and rescue boats.

After a visit to the island of Lampedusa this weekend, where 10,000 people arrived in three days, the Italian Prime Minister asked Von der Leyen to accelerate aid to the country to prevent more people from Tunisia reaching the Italian coasts.

But the doubts generated by respect for international and humanitarian laws hover over the agreement, the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, sent a letter last week to Ursula Von der Leyen to request more information on how the European Commission will ensure that human rights will be respected in the country, especially in the management of migration.

Likewise, Tunisia vetoed the entry of a European Parliament delegation scheduled for last week made up of five MEPs to learn first-hand about the democratic situation in the country and respect for Human Rights, and to learn more details of the agreement with the Union. European. “A decision without precedent since the democratic revolution in 2011,” the delegation condemned in a statement.