The Global Heroes


28th April 2023 By The Global Heroes Migration

Tunisia's Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar has urged the European Union (EU) to show "solidarity" with his country in tackling illegal immigration by receiving EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. Tunisia, whose coastline is less than 150 km from the Italian island of Lampedusa, has witnessed many attempts by migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, to leave for Italy. The country's guards announced that they rescued or intercepted over 14,000 illegal migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, during the first three months of 2023, more than five times the number recorded for the same period last year. The issue has gained momentum after Tunisian President Kais Saied denounced illegal immigration as a demographic threat to his country in a speech on February 21.

During the meeting with Johansson, Ammar emphasised the importance of the EU's support for Tunisia in carrying out socio-economic reforms in a partnership based on mutual respect and solidarity to better manage common challenges, including migration. He also highlighted the need to address migration issues comprehensively, based on a balance between socio-economic development and promoting legal channels of mobility, on one hand, and fighting against human trafficking and migrants on the other. In a statement, the EU said its discussions with Johansson would focus on joint efforts to fight migrant smuggling, preventing irregular migration, ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable migrants, and legal migration.

At the end of March, Tunisia called on the EU to show "more understanding" towards the country after several European leaders expressed alarm about the crisis in Tunisia and the risks it posed to Europe. Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, had warned on March 20 that the situation in Tunisia was "very dangerous," even mentioning a risk of the state's "collapse" that could cause migration flows to the EU and lead to instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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