Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

EU Grants Tunisia €165 Mln to Combat Illegal Immigration

Mon 25 Mar 2024 | 05:29 PM
Israa Farhan

The European Union has pledged up to €164.5 million in support of Tunisia's security forces over the next three years as part of the Brussels plan to curb illegal migration, according to the Financial Times.

The move comes as the EU faces political pressure to reduce the influx of migrants, prompting increased funding for countries from which populations typically migrate to Europe.

Sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that Brussels committed to providing Tunisia with €105 million in migration-related funding in an agreement signed last year, although most of it remains unspent.

Budget details reviewed indicate that the EU will allocate additional funds for migration over the next three years, with approximately two-thirds of the expected €278 million earmarked for security and border management.

The remainder will be used to finance initiatives such as repatriating migrants to their home countries, combating human trafficking, and refugee protection.

EU-funded programs in Tunisia, involving local security forces, include an academy for training the National Maritime Guard, implemented by the German Federal Police. Additionally, EU funds will be utilized to procure equipment such as radars and boats for the National Guard.

Tunisian security forces have intensified operations to intercept boats in the Mediterranean since the surge in migrant arrivals in Italy last August.

About 81,000 individuals were intercepted attempting unauthorized migration across the sea last year, more than double the previous year, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights.

According to European diplomats, international humanitarian personnel, and non-governmental organizations, some members of the Tunisian security forces are involved in "widespread illegal arrest and deportation operations" targeting migrants and asylum seekers.